"Is my data safe in the cloud?" is a question that I sometimes get asked by customers, and it’s also something I think about myself with my own data. Actually, the question I ask myself is "Is my data safer in the cloud?" – which encourages me to think about where it is today, and how safe it is – relative to storing it in the Cloud.
For the grammatical purists, I know that the word ‘data’ is plural, and that therefore the correct question should be ‘Are my data safer in the cloud?’, but that would be both pedantic, and really awkward.
My most critical items of personal data are my wedding photos. There is no way on earth that I can get those back if they disappear. So I put them on my local storage. And I put them in the Cloud. By asking the ‘safer’ question, a few years ago I realised that my photos were on my home computer, with a RAID configured hard disk, and a local backup disk. BUT if my house burnt down my photos were gone – hence the need to put them in the Cloud.
Since then, I’ve become a big fan of synchronisation – having my data locally and in the Cloud – using Windows Live Mesh. So now my critical data is on my home computer and my travelling laptop and in the Cloud. And Windows Live Mesh automatically synchronises every new bit of data for me – as soon as I put a new photo on my hard disk, it automatically synchronises it to the cloud storage on SkyDrive and my other computer syncs when it’s next connected.
So, Yes, my data is safer in the Cloud. A darn sight safer than when it was just on my home computer.
Next time somebody asks you "Is my data safe in the cloud?", then perhaps you might ask them to consider the "safer" question.
This blog post was stimulated by the news that over 5 million devices, belonging to 3 million users, are now syncing 2.2 petabytes of data between the cloud and the hard disk on their computer(s). Smart or what?