When using on line services for email or data storage, do you ever think about who is responsible for their safety and security. You should! Just because you put your precious data on of these ‘internet backup’ servers does not mean that it is safe or secure.
GMail loose 35,000 email accounts.
You may have heard recently that GMail lost emails on around 35,000 of their accounts. I really hope that you were not one of those effected, GMail say that it is not that big a deal as it only effected a small percentage of users – I bet if you are one of those users you are not thinking that loosing years worth of emails is OK. Now, GMail are confident they will be able to recover the missing emails but how much has this cost the users involved?
Use online services but be conscious of your choices
Be mindful of the strengths and weaknesses of these services and also how much impact they could have on you if they fail. I use hotmail for my main email account but I also make sure that it is synchronised with my laptop and regularly backed up. If the GMail disaster were to befall Hotmail at least I know that I will be able to recover all my emails up to my last backup. You then decide how much you can afford to loose and this helps decide how often you need to back up information.
Backup is one of the things you need to consider, the other is security and privacy. Once your data is on someone else’s equipment then you are exposed to their security and privacy controls – you know who can access your computer, do you know who can access your data when it is on a nameless computer on the cloud. There will always be a list of administrators, helpdesk staff, and other support staff who are likely to be able to access your data. Depending on the type of data you store this may be fine and pose no risk to your business. For other mission critical or highly confidential information you may want to put your own controls in place such as encryption of files before they are backed up.
On line services have their place and will continue to be an important part of an overall strategy for many small businesses. Use these services wisely and make sure you understand the risks and benefits involved – some pre planning will make sure you are not left high and dry.
Here’s to your ongoing online safety,
your ‘peoples geek’