Saving Data On The Cloud… Safe?

Monday, 12. October 2009

The temptation of the cloud…

In today’s everything digital world, it seems like a natural thing to store your data where you can get to it from anywhere. But who is insuring that all those photos, contacts, videos, calendar entries, and other digital info will be there in ten years? Or in five years? Or even next year? Actually, who is making sure it will be there and accessible tomorrow? With Microsoft/Danger’s announcement of a total data storage failure on the T-Mobile Sidekick Network:

“Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger’s latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device — such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos — that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low.”  (courtesy of T-Mobile Forum)

It seems that we should take a serious look at who’s watching the farm,the data farm that is.

How can they just lose all that data?

There’s speculation that the data loss was caused by an upgrade that went bad, but odds are that the victims that lost all their info will never know what really happened, or really even care… They just will want their data back, but as the T-Mobile post implies, there is little hope of that. And, if you don’t know already, none of these online services offer any promises of keeping or backing up your data. The reality is, you are solely responsible for your data. If they lose it, they have no obligation to try to find it.

Well, I don’t have anything stored online.

Are you sure? Do you post photos to services such as Facebook, or Flickr? Do you have videos on YouTube? Here’s one that seems obvious to me, but maybe not to everyone, but do you have anything on Google? Things like your calendar, or contact lists? Maybe you use GMail and have your email archive on their system? How about Google Docs? Nothing there at all?

Look, Maybe you don’t use any of the online services now, but odds are that you will. And to be fair, in many cases the companies mentioned do a better job then the average end user in managing data. But you shouldn’t believe that they are protecting or backing up your data, and you should always remember that no data is safe unless it exists independently on three media storage devices in at least two different locations.

— Stu


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