Recently over 150,000 Internet users found their Gmail inboxes, contacts and chat conversations gone–vanished. According to Google, the issue was caused by a storage software update that introduced an unexpected bug. Google has begun restoring data from tape backups, explaining in a blog post that while it maintains several electronic copies of every email sent through its system, this particular glitch destroyed every electronic copy of affected emails, and retrieving them from tape backups could be a long process. Although Google’s Gmail service temporary data loss won’t make the history books, it does serve as a reminder that no matter how reliable some cloud-based services are, none are infallible.
The “cloud” is a popular term for computing, and file sharing and storage from remote data centers. Many rely on cloud services, like Google Gmail, Flickr or Yahoo! Video to safely send, share and/or store files. Yet recently Yahoo! Video announced it was closing, leaving thousands of video sharing users in the lurch. Other cloud services are expected to follow suit. And, now with the Google Gmail glitch, people are asking whether it’s smart to put your complete trust in the cloud.
As 97.3 KIRO-FM host Dave Ross put it, “When I saw this story, it confirmed all my worst fears about this idea of cloud computing — that is, trusting your sacred data to this collective electronic entity somewhere in the ether.”
So what’s the solution? Simply, backup your data that is stored in the cloud. As Google proved, the cloud is not a solid fortress so don’t take any chances. Here are a few ways to backup your Gmail account:
1. You can simply setup Gmail to forward all your emails to another email account, but that’s just distributing the risk and really isn’t a foolproof solution.
2. Gmail Backup is a free Windows-only service designed to backup and restore your Gmail mailbox. After installation, simply type in your credentials and it will download your emails, allowing you to restore them to your account should Gmail encounter another snafu. Files are stored in your local directory.
3. For $20, Gmail Keeper will back up Gmail messages and any other data from your Google Apps as a zip file to a local disk. It supports multiple accounts and even stores labels associated with each message.
There are other solutions, but most involve moving your data from one cloud to another. So distributing the risk is not really solving the problem as you’re still relying on the “collective electronic entity in the ether.” So the most reliable way to backup your Gmail is to your hard drive or and then copy and then save to a DVD or external drive if you want to backup your backup.
If Gmail has another glitch, you’ll be covered—if you’re down the street or halfway around the world. Remember, with HomePipe you can always access your files from anywhere, anytime on any Internet or broadband-connected device. In minutes, you can retrieve your backup files and get back to business.
So to protect your data, start backing up your Gmail and all your other cloud computing and storage accounts to your hard disk or an external drive. Use HomePipe to ensure anytime, anywhere access in case one of your “clouds rain on your parade” and goes down with all your data. HomePipe takes seconds to download and it’s free so why wait? Try HomePipe today.