The Cloud Giveth…

Over on Unleaded this week I wrote a post about backing up ones writing, redundant backups, and even included that amorphous concept of “The Cloud” as a backup source.  This is the new concept that some companies, including Microsoft and Google, are trying to push that you can store your files online where things can be redundantly backed up by the massive servers of multi-million dollar corporations, not only protecting them against the potential issues of physical media but also making them available everywhere.  It seems like such a fantastic concept.  Just yesterday I started writing Back Half, and because I did it in Google Docs I was able to pick up right where I left off when I got home without any transition or mailing of files.  It’s great.

However, there’s one problem.

It’s been announced that Yahoo is planning on cutting its cloud bookmark service Delicious.

Perhaps this isn’t too much of a surprise, as Yahoo has been scrambling for money and relevancy ever since the ascension of Google.  And there are several tutorials running now online about how to pull your information out of Delicious.  But it drives home that these Cloud computing endeavors are ultimately run by corporations, and corporations decide all the time to change focus or to shut their doors.  Now, does that mean that Google Docs is in any danger of closing tomorrow?  Absolutely not.  In fact, most companies like Google or Yahoo are very good about nice long twilight periods for their online services.  The shut down of Google Wave was announced roughly three months in advance.  But these are the big boys and companies that care about reputations going forward.

A little due diligence never killed anyone.  When it comes to any form of online backup (whether hard drive backup or Cloud redundancy) know who you’re dealing with and make sure to ask yourself what happens if the service or entire company shuts down.  Just as I would never want an important file to exist only on my laptop’s hard drive, I also wouldn’t want my only copy to be available from a single Cloud computing provider.  Is this paranoia?  Perhaps.  Is that a bad thing in the end?  I contend no.

In the end, as most advice does, it comes down to common sense.  A well established company is going to be a safer bet than one who went into business yesterday.  That’s true in almost any venture, but especially true online.  So back up your files, just be aware of who you’re backing them up with.


  1. avatar

    #1 by jodie_microsoft_smb on December 17, 2010 - 4:51 pm

    With security concerns and provider promises, it’s understandable to do your research before selecting one for your online services. When checking out your options, don’t forget to look at Microsoft’s offerings and the posted privacy statements. This link will get you started:

    Jodi E.
    Microsoft SMB Outreach Team

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