Put your faith in the cloud

Opinion: Every cloud vendor gets hit with the same question: How do I know your service is safe?

Rightfully, users from small businesses to corporate giants to folks like you and me are concerned about our precious data. Once you put it in the cloud, you’re at the mercy of your service provider.

That anxiety is heightened when you read about Gmail going down again or the Microsoft’s Sidekick service losing (then recovering) user information at T-Mobile. Those stories make you mistrust the cloud as a data repository.

So you continue to do the data management work yourself, whether as a company or as an individual. If you’ve got a lot of data, that’s a lot of work and probably a mistake.

Robert Grimes hit upon a seldom-spoken truth in his column last week. He wrote, data is “safer in the cloud than you think.” Most service providers follow best practices for, say, data backups.

They also invest in software and hardware to give them added recovery capabilities. That’s why, despite Microsoft’s Sidekick service’s data disaster, “most if not all customer data” was recovered.

How are your best practices for data backups? Do you even know what they are? If you did, would you really follow them? How much do you invest in modern recovery hardware and software every year?

If you work in a big IT shop, you probably know what it takes to do it right. But few individuals or small businesses have a clue.

When a marquee service has a hiccup it’s major news. There then follows the requisite hand-wringing by those who worry about data safety in the cloud, keeping mistrust of the cloud alive in people’s minds.

Pity, too, because unless you are a data management wizard or have one working for you, odds are your data will be safer in the cloud than in your own hands.