Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back it up. Back it up. The Cloud isn't as safe as 'they' say it is.

Our blog has moved. You will find this blog post and fresh content on our new Talascend IT blog.

Are you prepared for the loss of your cloud data?
I recently ran across a blog by Matt Winer regarding his experience with cloud computing that I felt was really important to share. His story is a warning to all who use cloud servers to store their data and brings about some key questions. 

What happens when a cloud server goes down; what happens when your whole online world (pictures, blogs, etc.)  is lost ? What happens when the cloud expels all it energy and, the cloud is exhausted? 

It is human nature to expect everything will be 'OK' when you post to the cloud, but it is not human nature to back up your work further. Winer gave users the ability to download and back up their data. Very few of them took advantage of this functionality. Relying solely on presumption that the cloud will always be there is a bad idea. 

Luckily in Winer's case, he was able to get everybody their data after a massive system failure. For the rest of us; without someone to monitor the chaos; what will become of us and our data when the next cloud goes down?

Now, I am an IT guy so this shouldn't come as a surprise: I figure if you backup on the cloud and on your hard drive you should be pretty safe. 

Am I wrong?

I don't think you have to proactively act on this information immediately (but it might not be a bad idea to get the process started). I don't think for a second that no one has thought of such issues or that there aren't already good systems in place. However, in the end, many of us are relying on a 'constant' that is proving to be less than constant. With no one to monitor it or make sure it is up and running 24 hours a day, is the cloud truly safe?

Of course every company that stores your data and life's work on a server has backup right? You know it's always good practice to backup your data, but you don't.

Don't be fooled. Once, a matter of semantics changed my life for two weeks: I said I wanted to cancel an upgrade order on my current server contract. I had found a faster server from another provider with better software for less money. A human at my host decided to 'cancel' (delete) all of my accounts and all of my backup servers. The end result was two weeks of frantic repopulating of a new site from bits and pieces I had saved in various folders on my hard drive and some cached pages that Google had not re-indexed yet. I learned my lesson.   

Back it up my friends. 

What you assume is going on behind the scenes is not always the case. 

If you rely on the cloud, you are relying on someone else to protect your treasured 'stuff.'  This is why we buy gap insurance on cars, why we buy umbrella insurance, and it’s why you should backup your 'stuff' in the cloud. Back it up or be prepared for the consequences.

Back up your data yourself because you never know what could happen on the other end of the cloud. I say this as an IT staffing professional: Back it up and be safe; because you never know who or what is going to fail next.

On your PC or on an external hard drive; it doesn't matter where you back up your cloud data. You put a great deal of thought, time, and energy into creating your data. Isn't it something worth preserving?