Look at Cloud Computing from Both Sides Now - More Safeguards
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Use separate IDs for different services from a single vendor
Maintaining a large number of different user IDs sounds like a lot of hard work, but it can be well worth it. Consider the example of Baker, not to mention that of Nick Saber. Saber is a paying Google customer who was recently locked out of all his Google accounts at once with no warning or explanation. These accounts included Gmail, Google Talk, Picasa (which was full of personal photos) and Google Docs. If only Nick had used separate IDs to log into all these different services, the damage wouldn’t have been so devastating. Like Baker, Saber got his data back eventually, but you might not be so lucky.
Download and backup documents
Any document (this includes spreadsheets, presentations and anything else you’ve created) that exists only in the cloud is vulnerable. How you choose to back your documents up is up to you. You could download them one at a time, copy and paste them into local applications before saving them, or use a utility such as the Google Doc Download Greasemonkey Script for Firefox that is designed to download all your Google Docs in one go.
Consider signing up for a second photo or music service
Now that most of us own digital cameras, there’s an increasing trend towards using online storage for our photos rather than having to provide all that hard disk space ourselves. While this often makes economic sense, limiting yourself to just one such service makes no sense at all. Of all personal documents, photographs are often the most precious in the sense of being irreplaceable. Anyone who’s been unfortunate enough to lose a collection understands their value. Don’t learn the hard way: sign up for a second photo service and upload your pictures to it, or burn them to DVD, and enjoy the security of having a backup.
The same applies to music to a certain extent. Although music may not be unique and irreplaceable in the same way as photos, the time and effort involved in assembling a large collection is not something you would wish to repeat. Using a second service as backup helps to reduce the chances of this happening.
Remember Schofield’s Second Law of Computing
Above all, remember the phrase coined by Jack Schofield of the UK Guardian newspaper: “Data doesn’t really exist unless you have two copies of it.” As Schofield points out, although the chances of a disaster befalling you personally might seem vanishingly small, it’s worth remembering that if 10 percent of a billion Internet users have a data problem, that’s 100 million personal disasters. Don’t let one of them be you.
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