Tekkie Help’s SARAH and BO break it to us that cloud storage is not a data backup. Here’s why that’s the case – and how we can rectify the problem.
There is a growing assumption that having all of your personal or business data in the cloud is a safe and streamlined way of working – a storage and backup solution in one. However, cloud storage sites such as iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and One Drive are actually storage solutions and not a backup; so they shouldn’t be relied upon to protect your data.
So what happens when cloud storage goes wrong? While the cloud does offer a certain level of protection in the event of theft or natural disasters, it’s not a robust backup solution as the data synchronises with data on your devices. For instance, if you accidentally delete data off your phone or computer (or a child using your device does), the device synchronises with the cloud and the data is deleted off the cloud too – trust us, this happens more often than you think!
You can lose access to the cloud if your login email is either jeopardised (hacked) or if you change your email address for any reason (such as a job move). Likewise, if you fail to pay the subscription, your data access will go along with the cloud service.
We’ve encountered plenty of scary stories in our time. For example, instances where children have been using a phone linked to the parent’s AppleID and deleted a chunk of photos from the phone (and subsequently iCloud) to make space for games.
Then there was the time when a lady came to us to help her with her digital photos. When looking for her photos pre-2016, she advised us “it’s all in the cloud”. Actually, it wasn’t, and the old computer that was linked to the cloud had been disposed of – so there was no way of recovering these lost memories.
A data backup is the process of copying computer data or files, so they can be restored to the original, even after that data has been lost. Backups have two distinct purposes: to recover data after it’s lost and to recover data from an earlier time. We always recommend a 3-2-1 backup strategy where you have at least three copies of your data: backed-up data on two different storage types, and at least one copy of the data offsite. This offsite copy is where the cloud can come into play.
The bottom line is, if you only have your data in the cloud, we strongly recommend you get another copy.
This article first appeared in the June 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!