Disaster and Why I Hate Cloud Storage

meltdown2So my system crashed on me this week and I had to do a complete re-install of my OS and all my backup data.  Along with breaking out the Windows 7 DVD, I used a standard windows backup from an external drive that recovered me up to the point of about a week ago on Monday the 11th.  This frustrated me as it would appear that my backup process itself may have been what caused the crash, and I lost about a week’s worth of data.  Not a big deal, but enough to make my anal retentiveness clench up in displeasure.  It got me thinking about cloud storage and why I don’t use it the way I could.

I suppose the above title is a bit hyperbole.  I don’t actually hate cloud storage.  I use it regularly.  This post was written in Evernote.  A fantastic note taking tool that is currently synced across my phone, my PC, and in the web browser I use at work, thus enabling me to write notes and other such things ANY time I want.  This is awesome.  And Evernote does all the hard work of keeping up with what I write, when I write it, and where.  No muss no fuss, I update a note in my phone and that night when I log into my pc, that note is there waiting for me to do more to it.  The utility of being able to alter my files anywhere I want is fan-freaking-tastic.

And yet I still rely on an external hard drive that’s on site for my primary backups.  I won’t even look at a cloud service for backups with my data.  I have no interest in it.  Dropbox for all it’s benefits holds no appeal to me.  I see no reason to share my porn collection with the entire Internet.  It’s taken me years to cultivate it.  Why should you all get the benefit of all my curating while I get nothing?

I kid, but in this day and age, to expect data privacy of any kind, whether you run a blog, or lock yourself behind the most stringent firewall you can, or even hide it in your room under the bed with an external drive that you unplug and only pull out when nobody is looking, still means there are a dozen agencies and companies that can see it and get to it.  If you’re using a machine built in the past 10 years,it’s a given.  If you get on the Internet, it’s a given.  Use a public terminal say in a library or school?  Stop talking.

So you’d think with this realization, I’d have no issue with using a cloud backup system to keep ALL of my data, but it’s not the case.  I can’t hide my data at all, but that doesn’t mean I want to just put it out there for anyone to grab at their leisure.  At least make the feds work for me.  Even though I can’t stop outside entities from getting at my data if they really want it, the idea that I can at least keep it close to me appeals to me.  Yes I realize that if I have a fire in my house, I’ll possibly lose it all, but come on here.  I’m not a hospital, or the Pentagon, or Air-Traffic Control.  My data isn’t that valuable and there’s no reason to go to those lengths to protect it.

Getting a better backup system in place would be nice, and I’ll be taking a hard look at Crashplan now that I’m back up and going again.  Windows 7 for all it’s good, has a terrible backup system and an all or nothing approach to their recovery.  Regardless, I doubt very much that I’ll be making much use of any tool’s cloud options.  I recognize the value of cloud storage and am looking forward to the future and what kind of applications that will be available that will use it in unique and awesome ways, but at the end of the day, I want to keep my data with me.  Having a local backup that I can restore from any time I want, feels a lot more secure to me then relying on a server in a far away place that may or may not have my data when I need it.  Recovery time is longer but I know I have my data and the cloud can’t give me that kind of peace of mind.

At least not yet.

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