The trend towards zero is the trend towards risk

Chris Brogan posted the sorry tail of the chap who came back from lunch only to find all his Google services inaccessible – it seems his provider had disabled his account and he was left locked out – no access to mail, docs, images nothing. Turns out it was disabled because of an unauthorized charge attempt.

Over on ZDNet Phil commented with a list of suggestions from keeping backups of documents to doubling up on email backups. Phil quite rightly points out that users of web-apps rely on them for their everyday function, therefore trust in the app, and its provider, is paramount.

Phil goes on to say that;

One point the story highlights is a hard lesson for users: Don’t trust the cloud at this early stage in its evolution.

Which is like saying don’t trust fire because arsonists exist, or don’t give to charity because some of them are scams. It’s an over reaction of the highest order.

What I believe Phil should have given was some simple advice;

  • As with any product – do a good due diligence round before adoption
  • Don’t expect enterprise level service and robustness with a "free" solution

All of which is useful but none of which is a warning against using the cloud per se. Phil does make some valid points about the fact that Google users would often love to have the ability to talk to a real person in support – and not wade through layers of automation.

Having said all that there is a niggling thought at the back of my mid… what if I ever lost my Google data?????

3 Comments
  • You are saying you trust providers totally and don’t have a backup of your data?

    Here is the thing: if Zoho closes tomorrow, are you able to re-use the information and data on Google? If Google has a BIBLICAL FAIL, how would you and a lot of people cope?

    I have st least four copies of my documents (main notebook, travel notebook, Carbonite, Windows Home Server) and still don’t feel safe.

    I know that it’s easy to gt any Office program from the shelves if I don’t have the install discs (which I have in more than one place) and quickly restore order.

    The problem is that we also don’t want the users to become IT managers.

    Hence products such as Windows Home Server, Apple Time Capsule, Carbonite, Mozy and others. Make things simple for users.

    Seriously I am not using anything in the cloud, yet. The time may come, but I am waiting.

  • Interesting comments. Last year I lost a lot of my webmail due to a server meltdown at my ISP. Ironically I had backed up most of the currently active stuff on my GMail, so the loss was minimal. The nuisance factor was bad enough to remind me of the importance of multiple backups.

    With the new business, we have a virtual server based off site that handles our office Wiki, email and data storage. But I frequently back up important docs onto a CD from my laptop as well.

    You can never have enough backups.

  • Ben i think you blend a couple of things here

    1) Free services and the support (or lack of) that they get

    2) the robustness of cloud computing.

    I think they are different, the cloud isn’t failing. Google is

    @ M has a valid point, every person working in technology should backup. Its good practice ( I have two of my website).

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