Cloud Computing May Be Trendy, But It’s Not Bulletproof

Cloud computing is a’a0 that describes a model of computing where by your data is kept on servers that are outside your control and out on the Internet (hence, in the cloud).’a0 According to Wikipedia, cloud computing is:

Cloud computing services often provide common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

Cloud-based services are ideal with devices such as Netbooks and mobile handsets because the mobile devices have little computational horsepower, meager storage, and are typically connected to the ‘Net via data connections, either Wi-Fi or 3G data networks.

The promise of cloud computing for users lies in the assumption that our data is safely held in professionally-managed data centers somewhere in the world.’a0 But as recent events show, this isn’t always the case.’a0 Last week, Microsoft/Danger lost millions of Sidekick users’ data in a botched storage area network upgrade.

Microsoft is supposedly working around the clock to bring back the data.’a0 But, as it stands, millions of Sidekick users are without their contacts, photos, emails, notes, and other valuable data they depend on when utilizing their mobile devices.’a0 Because the Sidekick uses RAM to store all this data, any user who power cycles or lets the battery run out on their device will lose all their data until Microsoft/Danger can recover it – if at all.

What is the lesson here? If you have a device you care about that contains data you find valuable, you must seek and constantly update your backups.’a0 If you rely upon hosted services to house your data in the cloud, I suggest seeking ways to backup your phone’s data locally as well.

For example, iPhone users are in luck because of the way iTunes is structured.’a0 In addition to the availability of Apple’s MobileMe service, the iPhone/iPod Touch is automatically backed up each time you sync your phone with iTunes.’a0 Likewise, Nokia N Series and E Series users have access to some Ovi services that back up your photos/contacts and other data, but if you want a local copy of these types of data – Nokia users must use PC Suite on a regular basis.

There are services for many platforms that allow you to backup and maintain your data and I suggest you evaluate our options.’a0 Blackberry users have online and offline backup options and using Google’s mobile web services, you can backup your contacts to their services as well.

Don’t take the Sidekick data loss and assume this type of catastrophe couldn’t happen to you.’a0 With mobile devices becoming a part of our daily lives, there are likely contacts, photos and videos you care about.’a0 Take a minute to back up and ensure your data is safe!’a0 🙂

(Photo credit: Flickr User kevindooley)

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