The Sidekick Mess Highlights The Dangers Of Cloud Computing

If you’ve been thinking of taking advantage of a cloud computing service such as Salesforce.com, Office Live, or Google Docs, you might want to think twice about that. The circus of the past week involving Sidekick users who relied on Danger/Microsoft to keep their data safe shows one of the dangers that exists when you trust a third party with your data. You basically have to hope that whomever provides these services has got your backside covered in terms of keeping your data safe. Otherwise, your business or your life could be in deep trouble as Sidekick users found out when all their data went “bye bye.” But data loss isn’t the only thing to be afraid of. If you are considering using a cloud computing service, consider the following as well:

  • If you have your data outside your enterprise (or your direct control), you lose some control over that data. Is that something that is worth the risk to your business or to you personally?
  • Where is your data stored? Is it in the US? Is it in Canada? Is it in Russia? Can you afford to risk having your data some foreign country at the mercy of the laws of that country?
  • Who gets to see your data? Do the employees of these companies get to peek into your data and if so, under what circumstances? Are they subject to background checks of any sort?

Those are the main risks that I can see, but I’m sure that there are others. Please post a comment with any other risks that you can think of. I’d also love to hear from some cloud computing providers as I’m sure that you’d love to tell us why users should trust you with their data.

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