Have you ever had that sick feeling in your gut when you think you deleted a really important file and aren’t sure if you can get it back? Trust me – I’ve been there, and it is the worst. Since that fateful day, I learned to back up duplicates of all my data on external drives.
My backup drives run the gamut from small flash drives to full-sized external hard drives. My data didn’t seem to care where it was stored as long as it had a home. However, as I started to accumulate more than just a few flash and hard drives, maintaining my backup library started to bug me. I hate clutter!
Enter “THE CLOUD”
Cloud-based backups allow users to securely save important files to an online data backup server. These systems allow users to store their data on professionally maintained servers while providing secure access to it anytime from any computer – and many mobile devices – with an Internet connection. Clearly just the thing for a data security maniac and neat freak like me.
Sound too good to be true? Well, depending upon how things play out in the next few months, it may just be.
Though cloud-based storage solutions like Norton, Sugar Sync and Carbonite are great options to backup your important data off-site, what happens if the company managing the storage system is shut down or closes for some reason? What happens to your data?
What happens to my data?
Users of the MegaUpload service are finding out the hard way at this moment. The target of legal action by the U.S. Justice Department, MegaUpload recently had their assets frozen. While some users of MegaUpload may have used it to illegally share movies and TV shows, over 50 million users who used it for legitimate purposes have had their data swept up in this legal dispute. Attorneys for MegaUpload and the companies it used to host client data say the U. S. Attorney in charge of the case sent them a letter giving them permission to start deleting data from its servers as early as Feb. 2nd.
What does this mean for users? Pictures, spreadsheets and documents for private citizens and small businesses could be deleted without advance warning. For small business owners who don’t have a local backup, the loss of client data could be devastating to their livelihood. While users have had limited-to-no access to their data since January 19, MegaUpload is continuing its fight to keep user data from being deleted.
This situation reinforces the advice of data security and privacy professionals when it comes to choosing a cloud storage provider. They emphasize users should focus on well-known, established companies as service providers. Publicly-traded companies are very good options because they will be more risk averse than start-ups. Using a company you already have a relationship with –your ISP for instance – and one based in the United States is also a good idea.
For more on the risks of cloud storage see this article from National Public Radio’s business show, Marketplace. For more on choosing a cloud storage company, see this article from PC World Magazine. Can you imagine if this had happened to you?
Cloud storage is a great part of a backup solution, but this underscores why it should not be the only option. Storing your data is too important to trust to a single method. I think cloud storage is pretty awesome, but I will not give up on the clutter and safety of the old fashion external hard drive – and neither should you.
Keep your data safe! Back up today – locally, and online. You’ll be glad that you did.
-Agent Timothy E.
To learn more about how to ensure your data is backed up safely and securely, visit your local Best Buy and talk to a Geek Squad Agent about all the different ways to back up data — or visit us at support.geeksquad.com (24/7) and we can help back your data up for you!