back to article Trust the cloud with my PRECIOUS? You gotta be joking

Being a hardcore music geek of a certain age, I own several thousand LPs, CDs, and cassettes that I accumulated over the course of several decades. But as any serious record buff knows, collections like this are not remotely scaleable. I have several closets bursting with music in assorted physical media and I know people who …


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      1. OrsonX

        @John T

        Interesting reply, sounds like a nice set-up.

        I should probably expand my musical horizons as I do tend to hear the same songs a lot!

  1. MR J

    Nail on the Head..

    I think this story got my view straight across ;)..

    What I want is something that cost 30% that of traditional storage, allows me to "mount" it like a drive on my network, and have it include high level encryption out of the gate.

    Why 30%?.. Because I want at least 3 seperate cloud units running at one time, with sync software running that will make them appear all as one logical unit.

    Until We get to that point I am more than happy to keep my lib's stored on multiple PC/Drives.

  2. sgtrock

    Nobody has mentioned SpiderOak yet?

    Just because so many cloud companies are getting data backups wrong doesn't mean you have to assume that everyone is. I don't trust the cloud with my data. But I don't trust my own local backups either. Any sysadmin who has even a half a clue knows that you need more than one backup technique built on different architectures, each of which is geographically separate by at least 10 miles. NEVER assume that one backup solution is sufficient. ALWAYS assume that there will be a failure in any design. This is Basic Backup 101!

    A guy at work recommended SpiderOak a while back. After reading this page I was willing to drop $100/year to back up 100 GB:

    My only affiliation with SpiderOak is as a satisfied customer. I've been using SpiderOak to provide a remote back up my wife's critical business files and my own personal files for about a year and a half. It's reasonably priced and has been remarkably stable. Only one glitch that lasted about 2 days, and that may have been due to a PEBKAC error on my part. All in all, I think they provide a very solid backup solution.

    Given what I've said above, does that mean that I no longer keep a local copy of everything? Nope, of course not. In fact, I've got a couple of local backups driven by simple rsync jobs. But I'm damn glad I've got a solid offsite backup solution at a reasonable cost, too. In my view that's what a cloud solution really buys you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody has mentioned SpiderOak yet?

      SpiderOak, Inc.

      555 Huehl Road

      Northbrook, IL 60062

      The fact that they are located in the US, the country of the PATRIOT Act and more dirt and shame to hide than any other country of this world, is reason alone to avoid them.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business continuity

    Another problem with 3rd party cloud data storage is that even if you found the perfect solution for your needs, which manages to tick all your checkmarks and you're 100% happy with their Terms & Conditions and other promises that your data is yours and they will never never ever ever monetize them....

    You can't be sure that 18months from now they won't be acquired by Google/Facebook/Twitter/whatever promising that never ever will they change anything to the services they offer, and 6 months later, through a cunning update of their T&Cs, start doing the very thing you believed would never happen!!

    Worse, even if you decided to cancel the service at the time of acquisition or at the time of the T&Cs update, you have no guarantee whatsoever, and no means of checking, that your data was effectively removed from their storage.

  4. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    More than one way to lose your stuff

    "...both Apple and Google have experienced multiple cloud outages..."

    No need to wait for that. Your ISP may screw up, or your cable modem may go bust and a technician's visit to replace it will be scheduled a few days from now, or any one of a trillion different things may happen between you and the treasure stored in a different county or a different country.

    Having no Internet access (make it "convenient internet access" - you probably have email at work and on the phone/tablet these days) is a minor irritation, while having no access to *any* of your stuff may be a big problem.

  5. Ian Moyse

    To Cloud or not to Cloud, that is the question

    Having read the comments here it appears the author has an axe to grind with cloud. Having been in the cloud arena for the past 8 years and sitting on the board of many cloud associations and organisations I have a more pragmatic view that users should choose the most applicable form factor (be it cloud, cloud/on network mixed or on network) for each applications use dependent on the need, cost and feeling about data held in each case.

    Limiting yourself and avoiding cloud will put you at a disadvantage in terms of flexibility and adaptability and in business potentially lose your competitive edge. The customers are choosing with their feet and purses as many major historic bricks and mortar brand approaches have already found out to their peril. Take Blockbuster video, once the darling and now the gone or surviving against Netflix and lovefilm serving up online movies. Take Tower Records gone against the online music world, books stores, Kodak photography and many more join this throw.

    Cloud with the demands of mobile access from any device delivers more flexibility than we have ever had and be it public or private cloud is here to stay. We will see an increase in the speed of innovation and new uses for hosted services and an increased demand as younger users expect and demand availability anywhere, anytime on any device at a low price point that traditional mediums cannot deliver.

    If you are afraid of losing music in the cloud, buy it on standard media, ripit, upload it and gain the benefits of cloud with a localised traditional media copy for your peace of mind and safety. However bear in mind this will cost you more in money and time to achieve. Yes Cloud may have had outage examples in the past year, but one local device outage or loss later and a user will be switching to cloud and relying on it for backups quickly. There are bad stories in any medium, and the story of one user’s lost kindle files is rare and amongst the volume of users offers a low chance it will be you. You can argue this the same for any failure, I am sure there are those out there who have had their local device just crash and burn and not switch on as expected at a random moment leaving them high and dry.

    Ian Moyse

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: To Cloud or not to Cloud, that is the question

      ""Limiting yourself and avoiding cloud will put you at a disadvantage in terms of flexibility and adaptability and in business potentially lose your competitive edge." - possible, but is moving your data handling to the "cloud" a contributor to competitive edge?

      "The customers are choosing with their feet and purses as many major historic bricks and mortar brand approaches have already found out to their peril. Take Blockbuster video, once the darling and now the gone or surviving against Netflix and lovefilm serving up online movies. Take Tower Records gone against the online music world, books stores, Kodak photography and many more join this throw." - [citation needed], specifically one that puts these failures down to not being in the cloud rather than just a general failure to modernise (ie Kodak - sticking with chemical film in the face of digital offerings and then thinking "uh-oh"), or mismanagement. Unrelated points don't make another point, y'know!

  6. Florida1920

    Distrusted clouds before there was one

    Back in 2001, being of limited resources, I used several free webhosting services to stash sundry files, as my laptop had a 2-GB drive and no CD burner. One of them must have had their operation in the World Trade Center, as the service disappeared without a trace one day in September. Other people had bigger problems and there was nothing mission critical there, but when the biz got going I was a believer in redundant backup methods I alone controlled. When the Cloud drifted over the horizon I wasn't even tempted.

    Actually, my experience with stuff like this goes back further, to when I worked at a major monthly rag. The Powers decided to put MS Word on the server so we editors could run it over the LAN. I didn't trust that so I downloaded a copy onto my HD and renamed it . Came the day when we were nearing deadline and the server or the LAN or something blew up, and there was much screaming, tearing of hair etc in the halls, while I was able to keep working. The message, which all of you pro IT folks know is, you have to expect and plan for failure. If the Powers say, "What are the odds?," reach for the cattle prod and nudge them toward the elevator shaft.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Distrusted clouds before there was one

      I had gear at Sun in (and on top of) the WTC. The functionality was available under half an hour later, with hardware I had access to in Nyack NY, albeit with a trifle less bandwidth.

      Yes, it was a planned fall-back option. No, I didn't foresee the extent of the equipment failure.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    risk analysis

    A very one-sided rant. Which I guess it was written to be.

    Compare the risks listed with those of trying to maintain data yourself, as most commentards here seem to be doing. Such as

    - your RAID controller has a bug that blitzes all your data when a disk dies

    - your OS or iTunes or whatever devices to overwrite all your files with zeros

    - your house gets burgled and the thieves take all your electronics

    - combine any of the above with a silent failure of your off site backup regime for the past 6 months.

    Never mind that most people wouldn't know a backup regime if it came and burnt their house down.

    The cloud has its place as part of a sensible data storage strategy. All computing relies on trusting someone else to a greater or lesser extent, unless you are building your own CPUs. And if you don't like the privacy aspects then encrypt your data before uploading using something that doesn't store the key centrally (ie not dropbox).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: risk analysis

      You shouldn't really be talking poorly of those you are trying to sell a product to. Now take that cloud make it rain. I don't need or want your cloud. Give me blue skies!

  8. igottheflag


    Clouds eh? What happened to just printing everything out and putting it in a folder? Trees and dot matrix printers were invented for a reason people.

  9. tempemeaty
    Thumb Up

    Dave, you roxin my boxin!

    I'm glad that I'm not the only one who groks this. I've seen it from the consumer end and from the inside. How many times do I have to cringe, as someone on the inside of a technology company, when a customers account get hosed by some internal error or issue from some botched entry on an account profile that wrecks the service in question. Then we find out when the customer calls in and can't repair the issue due to internal tools issues/limitations and the account has to be closed and a new one written up. God forbid there's a cloud storage or email attached to the account. The reality is that many of these accounts can lose all data at the push of a button on an account interface but the same tools can't retrieve what's lost. You go to Tier 2 or 3 only to find they don't even have server access and the company has so compartmentalized I.T. from the customer service techs that neither has contact with the other and lost data is just lost. Bottom line, no one can take care of your data better than you can. Thanks Dave for the common sense and reality check here.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Claud Schmaud

    Whatever. I have several clouds that just up and evaporated. Jokes aside, if you like the convenience of the cloud, run your own. Cloud storage is AKA NAS. It ain't that tricky. Nowadays they even have them fangdangled distros on a CDROM.

  11. adnim


    one is good at remembering a long sequence of just two things, any lost data could be reconstructed using a simple two key input device.

  12. Nanners

    Dude, it's too late

    They already have you by the balls. You just don't realize it yet. And yes, they are buying and selling you to the highest bidder, that's the whole point.

  13. bri

    If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better than cloud

    The trick is "to know what you are doing". Majority of people don't. That's a fact. Some people do have staged backup policy with multiple geographic locations and/or use P2P backup but some other people who never lost their data will call this anal retentive and hence they will, inevitably, lose more data as a result (everyone does, the trick is to limit the loss, in other words to define the RPO).

    The problem with cloud (as in Dropbox, Google and friends) is that it is far more susceptible to influences you cannot control and which you know nothing about (especially if you reside in a different country than your cloud provider). So the actual GUARANTEED availibility of cloud backup is for foreign natural person far, far lower than almost anything else (do you know what actual steps would you perform should a foreign company stop abruptly the service to you and as a result you'd lose access to your data? Remember, consumer organizations work usually within single country).

    Cloud service is better than nothing, usually, but that's not what we can term as "good", right?

    One aspect of this is privacy. Almost everyone has some kind of "unlicensed" material, should we say (grabbed CD or BD is such a case, even if you do that as a hedge against burglary). That's DMCA territory. The fact that no one does care what you have stored there NOW is no guarantee - cloud providers are actually centralized points for data storage (and those cloud providers will search the data for clues on what's popular). Before, investigators had tens/hundreds of millions of households to search (impossible). In the future they will have only a handful of datacenters to search (and their access actually depends on lawmakers and lawyers understanding technicalities - good for you if you really, really trust them).

    In order to be reasonably safe and future-proof, you have to encrypt your data on the client and THEN send it to the cloud or use P2P backup with people whom you trust. But it means you have to employ some kind of key management and data preprocessing or slightly more complicated backup configuration you have to consult with others. This isn't a panacea either. Not mentioning the fact that fetching your HDDs for rotation from granny has often far higher bandwidth than uploading/downloading your data to cloud. And given the usual TB sizes, such a poor person geo backup is often cheaper and, if done sensibly, with RPO you are actually comfortable with.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better in heavenly clouds' stealthy layers*

      In the future they will have only a handful of datacenters to search (and their access actually depends on lawmakers and lawyers understanding technicalities - good for you if you really, really trust them). … bri Posted Tuesday 25th December 2012 18:53 GMT

      Morning, bri,

      Actually it is so much easier than that whenever there are no laws, or laws which regularly broken and/or ignored by lawyers and lawmakers and clients desperate for access to technicalities and intellectual property which they don't understand or possess or have licence to/permission to use under proprietary terms and conditions.

      And it happens all the time whenever systems are in collapse because of intelligence failings …….

      * Mega Anonymous Occupied IntelAIgent Space Territory.

      1. bri

        That's an interesting link

        Morning amanfromMars,

        I didn't know that, but can't say I am too surprised. Makes you all warm and fuzzy knowing that we live in a democracy, right? Happily, majority of people can't be bothered, so from democracy POV everything is absolutely just fine. Just fine...

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better than cloud

      In order to be reasonably safe and future-proof, you have to encrypt your data on the client and THEN send it to the cloud or use P2P backup with people whom you trust. .... bri Posted Tuesday 25th December 2012 18:53 GMT

      Is that what Kim Dotcom is offering?

      1. bri

        Re: If you know what you are doing, you are almost always better than cloud

        Could be, if they don't shut him down. And that depends on T&Cs and datacenter locations.

  14. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Separate Locations Essential

    I have written a PhD Thesis, back in the days of 1.4Mb 'floppies'. One set was in my office and was used day to day. Once a day they were backed up onto the set that was in my backpack. Once a week that was left at home and the set at home came in to be backed up (no home computer back then). To wipe out my thesis two locations (one with sprinklers) would have to burn down and I would have to be crushed or incinerated travelling between them, in which case it would have been moot.

    A colleague at the time told of a PhD candidate he had known in a previous, non computerised era. He had given his, handwritten, thesis to a typist to take away and type up, as was common practice. She put it on the back of her moped and set off across town. By the time she got there it was no longer there. He had to recreate it from scattered notes. That was NOT going to happen to me.

    I have lost count of the number of colleagues and family members who have lost stuff because it was not backed up. This machine is backed up to an easily grabable FW drive by Time Machine.

  15. jake Silver badge

    What's with all this "cloud" shit, anyway?

    You DO have a secure link to your own systems when on the road, right? Extend the favo(u)r to friends & family, to the benefit of all ... How? I'm glad you asked ...

    Get three (or four, or five ...) freely available Celeron systems. They should come with enough disk & RAM ... Load any of the freely available OSes on each machine (I prefer BSD). Install one at home (Sonoma, CA), one at DearOldMum's (Duluth, MN), one at Great Aunt Florie's (Padstow, UK), one at the ubiquitous Uncle Bob's (Christchurch, NZ), and etc ... Hook the machines up to their so-called "broadband" Internet modem.

    Install encryption software, and simple scripting to automagically backup user generated code (personal files) at all locations to all other locations on a regular basis.

    So-called "cloud" sorted ... without the hype, or the privacy issues. Or the cost.

    If you can be arsed, add in FTP, Usenet[1], email, HTTP and other servers over the same encrypted links. It's been working for me since before Flag Day ... although granted, I didn't have the encryption capability right from the git-go ;-)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it's not in three places it doesn't exist

    Given that google drive, sky drive, et al work by syncing a _local copy_ at each location they are installed (i.e., desktop and laptop), ignoring the scaremongering 'big brother' arguments, doesn't that make online backup about as robust as you can get (i.e., online, a laptop and a desktop all end up with copies without intervention, and are probably all in different physical locations)

  17. chairman_of_the_bored

    "Would you like Google to remember..."

    A few months ago I visited a website - perfectly innocuous and SFW - that required a login. Because it was a trivial site, I happily allowed Google to remember the ID and password. I missed the distinction - I was not giving Chrome the local browser, but Google the "cloud", the right to keep my data. This only became apparent a few months later when on a clean Linux install I visited the same site, and to my horror discovered the ID and password fields correctly populated. Google may have brainy engineers and security people, but would I trust them to protect sensitive data against all possible attacks? No.

  18. bag o' spanners
    Black Helicopters

    I've yet to run across a cloud provider who could inspire me to leave my data security in someone else's hands. Especially someone I've never met, and who has zero regard for the content, or its replacement value.

  19. JeremyP99

    Who needs the "cloud" with 4TB drives available? Not I for sure.

  20. CCCP

    Just put a HD in your own safe?

    Being a lazy etc, I just back up my stuff to a portable hard drive and stick the hard drive in the safe - fire rated to fricking a lot. We can't really get flooded and the thing weighs way too much to move by tealeafs. Oh, and you'd have to contend with the floor bolts.

    The added bonus of a safe is you can put, say, actual prints of old photos and other stuff in there. All safe and sound. No offsite, no NAS, no network required, just a hunk of steel.

    Old skool (just don't lose the bloody keys!)

  21. Matthew Hale

    f^ck cloud storage

    ....this goes for all of it. If I buy /' own something it's mine, and I'm f*cked if I'm leaving it to any corporate slimebag to `look after for me`... along with all the loss of traditional ownership rights that comes with that arrangement.

    Clouds. What a load of hyperbole and marketing crap. Set up your own storage system - space is cheap enough these days. Buy 10 2TB drives for example, hang it off the back of a web server on a 100/200mb connection. Connect to it over the internet. What's the problem?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure it's in there somewhere but:

    'as was apparently the case a few months ago, when the full contents of someone’s Kindle were deleted by Amazon'

    Never happened. It blocked access so when they broke their kindle it couldn't be uploaded to a new one but didn't delete anything.

  23. rav

    The Cloud is your data held hostage.

    How about a personal cloud. A small server with a 4g motherboard. An AMD SeaMicro board would do nicely. All your mobile, laptop and desktop devices would link to it for stored data.

  24. Greyeye

    have two or more ready...

    Having data on the single location is asking for trouble.

    Backup to tape and storing to off-site,

    Network based off-site backup (aka Cloud backup)

    Running over two DCs, (remote sync, DFS-R, RSYNC, etc)

    or low level replications done at the storage level.

    its not about trust CLOUD providers or not, its how the recovery plan and where YOU save the data. If a cloud provider does not provide good recovery plan, its up to you to select one that does, or deploy data on the additional providers (or store locally)

    In Australia, Brisbane, 2011 Jan flood had managed to cause havoc and resulted in massive data losses everywhere. Japan's 2011 earth quake and tsunami and rendered many business near useless.

    Yet, Im surprised to see so many ppl believes local premises RAID, SAN, NAS are good enough to data protection.

    At work, we backup to the remote network, all VMs are cloned and ready to fire up at remote site as needed.

    At home, I use crashplan to backup my photos and images to their sites.

  25. DriverDean


    And this is not all obvious to whom?????

  26. SmartphoneDesigner

    I'm not sure what the problem is. I love Dropbox plus the Boxcryptor encryption system.

    I have also installed many portable apps on Dropbox (unencrypted).

    (Sadly some older apps are still tied to a specific PC .. but that's life)

    So I now have several PCs at different sites .. each with a local copy of my files (encrypted). My files are also in the cloud (again encrypted). I use a complex layer of password managers to (hopefully) ensure that nothing can go wrong if I have a PC stolen. I also have a 500GB USB backup disk to backup the (encrypted) cloud.

    So, if a PC fails or is stolen, no problem. If Dropbox or the links to it fail, no problem.

    Also I no longer have to worry about losing USB memory sticks on which I have shoved a 'just in case' backup of some files or emails. In fact I rarely save stuff on memory sticks nowadays.

    Each PC is essentially now a Windows system which is a Dropbox client.

    Nothing private is held unencrypted on any PC. - but an encrypted volume of my world IS held on multiple PCs.

    That leaves privacy issues : well, Google etc monitor almost everything I do on my PC so that battle has already been lost. All my (and probably your) emails pass through insecure external systems and so are already at risk.

    Migrating to the cloud has also been beneficial in other ways : I have been forced to review all my files etc to see if they are worth keeping. I now have a much tidier folder structure and I can find all those photos from that holiday in 2001. They are no longer hidden on unbackedup PC #3 in a folder called p1.

    The deduplication & tidying process was revealing ... I had ZILLIONS of duplicate files all over the place, some with differing names ... but now I have just one copy of each.

    So for the first time in many decades I have control of my files ... and they are all tidy too!

    Would I use the cloud etc if I was a copyright pirate or a drug dealer ... probably not.

    However for 'ordinary' use I don't see any increased risk of using the cloud ... we are already spied on every second of every day.


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