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Can we trust the Cloud?

October 11th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

More and more of our data is being incorporated within Cloud services. Universities and other educational institutions are increasingly outsourcing services to cloud providers. But can we trust the cloud?

I am not convinced. Pontydysgu uses a number of different could services, most notably Google, Dropbox and Apple and there is no doubt that these services allow us a high degree of organisational flexibility and functionality for work in a distributed community. We do not pay for the Google or Apple services (although it could be argued that Apple services are paid through hardware) although we do pay for extended storage on dropbox.

I actually have (or rather had) four google accounts. My main account was tied to my mac (.me) email address. I additionally have a gmail account which I use as a backup email service. Somewhere down the way I created a Pontydysgu organisation account. And some time in the apst for soem reeason I couldn’t access anything so I set up yet another googlemail account (that was a mistake) …..although I instantly forgot I had got it.

But it was that account which caused me problems. Somehow that appears to havegot corss linked to my .mac account. If someone sent me access to a document on the .mac address google wa sautomatically changing that to my now dormant and throw-away gmail account. My Youtube account was beinga utomattcially linked in against it. And so on.

So idecided to simlify thigs. i would just erase the unwanted and unused account. That was easy. But at the same time it deletedmy main .mac account. How I have no idea. But everything was gone. I tried tehGoogel account recovery process but with little hope. The questions were impossible. I did not know teh eyar I had set up diffferent Google services let alone the month or day. And so it turned out – I had an auto email saying they were nable to restore my account beacuse they could not validate that I was who I said I was ands was tyeh owner fo the account.

OK – I gave in and setup the account again. Forthunately my amails were on anotheraccount. I lostmy feed readerbut it needed pruneing anyway. I lost access to about 200 docuemnts although once more only about eight or ten were in current use and I had backups of teh rest. Oh – and I lost access to 500 or so followers on Google plus.

None of this too much of a tragedy. But it has made me think agin about the cloud. If Google can screw up accounts then so can anyone else. And so whilst Cloud services can be very useful, i think I want to keep backups of my data on my computer for the moment.

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