Nearly everything can be done online now. You can order fast food, books, equipment, and even water shipments online. You can send messages, make calls, and receive video communication online as well. An entire virtual office can be hosted online. Nearly everything can be done via the Internet—and because of this particular quirk of our age, we put quite a great deal of data into the cloud. In fact, entire systems can be backed up online, as Apple recently proved with its recent iCloud integration feature.
But there is also a downside to this exciting development. Having data online means that access to favored information is dependent on the following factors:
- Your own internet connection (you need to be connected to the Internet in order to access your documents)
- The hosting servers (where the service providers keep your data), and
- The connection between both.
Losing any of these prevents you from getting to your data, which can be extremely troublesome if you need to use them on a daily basis.
The Big Google Outage
On the 10th of December, Google’s various online hosted services blacked out – much to the horror of its users. It wasn’t hard to notice, given the fact that Google was a massive provider of various online services, such as Gmail, Google Play, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and more. A majority of these are used very heavily by a large online population that depends on Google for most of their personal and professional endeavors.
The massive blackout resulted in much distress, as users were unable to access their emails (this was very troublesome to people expecting messages, most especially to businesses dependent on these accounts), virtual drives (where a great deal of data, spreadsheets, documents, and various information were stored), calendars, and other services.
This makes us realize that, while being dependent on online services ultimately reduces the data stress on our own hardware, we are risking the occasional inability to access important information with this cloud technology. This is why backing up data is still important, even if everything is already saved online.
We’re not telling you to get everything you’ve got on the cloud into your hardware—this defeats the purpose of having the cloud in the first place. But here are some reminders:
– Make a small local backup – if you have something you are absolutely dependent on, such as a document, a message, a presentation, etc., it might be best to keep a copy on your hard drive at all times. This is especially important if this piece of information (say, a spreadsheet) needs updated constantly. Always have a copy of the latest version with you.
– Use an alternate cloud backup – if you have your data saved on one service, keep an updated “backup” version on another online cloud storage service. This is so that in the event of one service going down, you have a fairly reliable.
– And finally, keep these backups updated.