What happens when clouds blow away

I hate to say I told you so. No I don’t – I actually enjoy it. What I don’t like is talking about bad news that cost people jobs and make businesses suffer needless losses. According to this account in NetworkWorld, customers of The Linkup have suffered enormous data loss and the company is shutting down. All of the commentary on the efficiencies of cloud computing and SaaS seldom talk about the inherent risk in surrendering your personal information or the lifeblood of your business (your data) to the watchful eyes of a company you can’t hold accountable.

The hosts are often much bigger than the individual clients making recourse difficult and nobody ever believes the EULA when it says “it’s not our fault if we loose all your stuff.” This doesn’t make the benefits of the cloud less compelling but it screams for better due diligence when selecting a vendor. Good news I suppose for EMC/Mozy as people run to ever bigger players for warm fuzzies.

4 thoughts on “What happens when clouds blow away

  1. Even bigger players can be a risk. The real point is, “who are you going to trust.” The problem with any company is that in the end they are a just a company. There’s little financial backing beyond what the company, if public, has in value. Maybe if they got a policy from Lloyds of London, but then I’m sure the fees will go up.

    You have to remember our banking system is protected by the FDIC. This means that if your bank goes under you are at least protected for your deposits up to $100,000. Something like this is needed in the cloud computing to really offer any protection.

  2. When I first read the news story – one of the voices in my head (and yes there are several) said “the legislature is going to have to deal with this at some point” – I suppressed it because the last thing we need is another government program.

    That having been said – if cloud computing becomes as pervasive as it’s supporters speculate it will, then the economic impact of a collapse like Enron in the “data sector” could have serious national repercussions.

    The hard part though is determining how to monetize the risk. Banks are easy because its already in the form of currency. The value of data is far more amorphous.

  3. I was introduced to some really simple technology that had incredible implications a few years back. It was timestamps for electronic transactions, like emails or other applications. There was an annual fee for the server that wasn’t ridiculous. Unfortunately people (“technologists” really) didn’t get what was interesting even after explaining it several time. Why not use simple timestamps you can have for free?

    What was interesting was that the service was provided by the US Postal Service. While the technology for timestamps was simple none of the corporate services had what this had, the US Postal Inspectors. You see if someone was to go beat down a blue postal drop with a baseball bat, that’s a FEDERAL CRIME. Tampering with US Postal Property could put you in federal prison. As the timestamp server was US Postal Property, altering the timestamp, would put you in federal prison. This is a much bigger stick than could be yielded by a company like RSA.

    There are simple ways to build trust into technology. The problem is we as technologies are not looking for it often enough.

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