This caught my eye this morning, skimming the headlines. Mashable reports that a Google glitch disabled 150,000 email accounts - and by "disabled" they mean completely wiped clean. No emails, no attachments, no archives. Nada.
Google's damage control quickly cited that this is less than .08% of all gmail accounts in use, which is not likely comforting to a single one of the 150,000 affected. My gmail account archives my email from as far back as 2006 or 2007, and is the only record I have - no offline backups here. I guess I naiively assumed it was "in the cloud" with a mega-corporation - what could go wrong?
Evidently, quite a bit. The good news? Google will "make good." Latest reports indicate engineers anticipate a full recovery of the 150,000 accounts. But the bigger question here is what if they couldn't?
I'm no engineer, but with an ITIL certification under my belt, a slew of industry knowledge from my years at BMC, and a few trillion hours building my own PC's, trying to synch things to other things, and generally dorking out with computers and networks, a few precautions come to mind that I'd love perspective on from Dr. Cloud, The Cloud Curmudgeon, or any of our other resident experts on all things cloudy (not to mention our user community):
- Public cloud services are not immune to failure. If you source storage or capacity from a third party, have a backup plan.
- Manage cloud resources in line with the rest of your data center. Being able to quickly identify points of failure - and better yet, automatically react to resolve them - means little or no "downtime" to your business services. If cloud storage fails, a redundant local backup kicks in. A home user might not know until they log in to a service that something has failed, and that's fine. But a large enterprise can't afford to find out something is wrong well after the fact.
I've embraced quite a few cloud services in my personal life. I use Dropbox religiously, and a number of apps for my ipad that synch to my dropbox have really increased its market share on my home network. Gmail is a staple, and still will be (albeit with my own backups moving forward). I've been experimenting with soundcloud lately. I understand today that backing up to third party cloud services is one point of redundancy, but not the end of the story for my personal critical data.