Can you trust the cloud?

One of the big advantages of "cloud computing" is that you have access to your data anywhere, and even if your system breaks down, you can still access that data because a professional host is keeping it safe for you.

But what happens when that professional host manages to lose all your data? …

That's what happened to T-Mobile Sidekick users last week. A server failure at Microsoft/Danger last week means that all user data is most likely permanently lost.

Ponder that for a moment. Microsoft. With some of the brightest minds in the IT world working for them. Lost all customer data.

Now, I'm probably not going to stop using other people's servers to synchronize my data across devices. It's very useful to be able to do that. But am I going to rely on them to keep my data safe? No, I will always keep a backup of my own data, just in case.

And who knows, maybe at some point in the future, I will be able to use a Unite application installed on all my devices to keep them in sync? My own personal cloud, so to speak.

Opera Unite will not replace traditional data hosts. It will not make all those data storage and sharing services obsolete. But it will provide an alternative, and leave you more in control of your own data.

I don't want all my data to be controlled by other people, and I know I can't rely on them to keep my data safe anyway. "Cloud computing" does not mean that you can relax and stop taking backups of your data! It simply means that you hand over your data to other people because you will benefit from it, and you hope that they will keep that data safe and private.

So I guess you can trust the cloud to a certain degree, but we need alternatives to the cloud as well.


11 thoughts on “Can you trust the cloud?

  1. Personal hard drives crash, houses catch fire, and other disasters just like those at corporate locations. The only difference is that most server farms aren't run by people with little to no foresight. If i had to bet money, I'd bet every time that a corporate entity had more backups and more backup resources than an individual. Obviously and apparently this is not always the case. However, I personally won't lose faith in the concept because of the transgressions of a few.

  2. Rafael writes:What, did fearphage actually read the whole thing? Did it say anything about losing faith in the concept of cloud computing?Quote about hosted services: "It's very useful to be able to do that. But am I going to rely on them to keep my data safe? No, I will always keep a backup of my own data, just in case."Another quote: "Opera Unite will not replace traditional data hosts. It will not make all those data storage and sharing services obsolete."

  3. Personal clouds, that sounds great. I can have my PC at home synchronized with my laptop and PC at office.And it will be a worst scenario (which is sound impossible) if my house got in fire in the same time with my office.

  4. I'm not sure how Unite is supposed to help with this problem.Strictly speaking, Unite isn't anything new. It was always possible to run a web server from your home computer — Unite just makes it easier to set up. Unite is basically easy-to-use infrastructure for accomplishing that task. But where is the infrastructure in Unite for syncing to the cloud? How does Unite make that easier than it would be with Apache + PHP scripts?There already is another approach, for which there is pre-existing infrastructure in many browsers (including mobile versions of Opera): client-side database storage. Your sites in the cloud maintain a local copy of their information on all the computers you use them on and enable client-side storage for. This gets you two wins: performance (since the network needs to be accessed less often to access information), and a local backup of your data.(Edit: After re-reading your post, I realize that you've made a point about the privacy implications of having data in the cloud too. I think there are privacy downsides for both approaches. For example, if someone steals my laptop, they could theoretically access all of my information in Unite, but they can't access my information in the cloud because it is all password protected. Disk encryption might help with this, but that's unlikely — effective attacks against it have been demonstrated using the DMA features of Firewire, etc)

  5. Micky: The solution to the problems with "cloud computing" is to change the provider? No, that won't address the fundamental problems. Not that cloud computing in itself is a bad idea. I use several services provided by other companies. But I don't want other people to control all my data.dbloom: Unite offers an alternative, and lets you control your own data. With Unite you could set up your own sync server in no time at all, and synchronize all your devices through that. You could even create your own cloud where all your devices are running Unite and always keeping the data up to date, and stored on all devices.

  6. Originally posted by haavard:

    But I don't want other people to control all my data.

    Not you, but average users might trust their data to Google more than to themselves. And it's not just a matter of trust, Google servers are probably much more reliable and easy to use than average user's home backup (many times even non existing).I would suggest for Opera to unite Unite and Cloud. 🙂

  7. There are many easy to use backup solutions out there. But that's not all. How would you send a 100 MB file through Google? It's much easier to send a file to a friend if all you need to do is to send him a link.

  8. For the average person I would guess they may know very little about how cloud computing works and trust that their data is all safe in one spot, this just shows to backup you data in some other spotI wonder if T-Mobile will have its Sidekick users (not every T-mobile user has a side kick) come into a store so they can create a new backup

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