When cloud computing goes wrong

I’m a fan of cloud computing based applications and services, in fact I use them a lot to organise a whole raft of things I do and need to get done. But at the same time I really do understand that confidentiality is a misnomer and that there’s no guarantee of integrity and/or availability. The control I put in place is a strict backup plan to mirror data locally and to 3rd party online storage facility.

There’s no doubt that this does add a performance penalty and additional cost in terms of time and money, but this is what I’m prepared to tolerate as a trade off for knowing my data is suitable protected. Alas, not everyone is in as good a position as myself……

In late January the social bookmarking service Ma.gnolia.com suffered a catastrophic technical failure that rendered all its users’ data irrecoverable. The service did have a data backup facility but it hadn’t been set up properly in the first place and hadn’t been subsequently tested to ensure it worked as expected.

In the fall out it transpires that the Ma.gnolia.com service was actually being run by a one-man-band operating on a shoe string budget with the minimum amount of hardware and software (in this case two Mac OS X servers and four Mac Minis).

All I can really say about this is caveat emptor….. and make sure you have a tested business continuity plan when working in the cloud.