Earlier this week, nearly 150,000 Google e-mail accounts were deleted. Instantly. Without warning. For business owners taking advantage of the cost-savings offered by the Software-as-a-Service providers, many assume these clouds are infallible with multi-layered contingency plans in place.
But when we assume…
1. Practice safe App use
Online document and photo sharing sites have made it easier than ever to let ‘the cloud’ store and manage your digital mementos – but that is NO EXCUSE not to back up your stuff. Don’t assume your provider has you covered – ASK if your data is stored in more than 1 place/format.
2. Spend a few bucks
Hosted services save you the expense of buying software – leaving cash on the table to buy that external hard drives, which can vary in price. If you need a benchmark, consider the recent Flickr user whose account was accidentally (but permanently) erased.
3. Layers for warmth
Of course, there are some applications like Apple’s MobileMe which gives you the option of layering the cloud apps for its mobile devices. Some view e-mail storage on MobileMe + Mozilla Thunderbird + Salesforce.com as ‘triple redundancy’. Although the mental image I get when applying this concept looks eerily similar to sub-prime mortgage derivatives…
The lesson here? Diversify ownership of your important stuff among hardware, software and application provider backup policies. While not new in concept, the Cloud has become quite trendy for business. However, as we increasingly rely on the internet to manage our critical operations, the Cloud is beginning to resemble a bubble. Make sure your business is a beneficiary, not a victim, of the nature of the Cloud.