The Downfalls of Online Applications


Online applications are great. Being able to access valuable information from wherever you are located in the world, and not being tied down to one computer is one of the main benefits of this Web 2.0 era.

Email can be accessed though online webmail applications like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AIM, and many others. Word and Spreadsheet applications can be stored, worked on, and collaborated care of Google’s tools, and Zoho amongst others. Task lists can be updated and reminders set with Stikkit. Calendars and appointments are tracked with Google Calendar and 30 boxes.

We use online storage solutions like Xdrive or to store information, and our 100GB hard drives almost become obsolete. Some companies like Linutop out there are even selling systems with no hard drives particularly for web based application users.

Everything is all good, and these companies do offer valuable online services, but what happens when disaster strikes? Storage servers do go down. Companies do go bankrupt. Companies get bought over, and liquidated. Where does our information go? Is it still secure? How do we recover our lost files and information?

I have been thinking allot about this lately, as it seems this year that more and more of my information gets stored online. Thus I have been working out a plan to schedule in timely preventative maintenance techniques, to ensure that my data is always backed up.

As for data security, if one of the online companies I do deal with goes under, and servers liquidated to who knows who, I do not store any secure, or highly important valuable information. Just regular everyday unimportant information that would normally mean nothing to anyone else that might get their hands on it.

Do you use online applications where you store your information like calendars, words, files? Do you have any plans to ensure that you are always backed up? What are the techniques that you use?


susan Feuer

Funny – I can’t access my Gmail account this morning!

Uday Subbarayan

There was a similar question asked in the last SaaSCon, San Francisco during the CIO panel….”What happens if the service goes down?” and one of the CIO replied back, “even if my internal service goes down, hosted by our own IT dept….”

The same applies here…What happens if your hard disk crashes or your loose your laptop on travel?

I have no problem in using Google calender OR Google docs.
The future is going to be web based computing.



Net in the US is far too slow and asymmetrical to be useful for many of these things.

The security piece is (as many have pointed out) a major barrier.


Agreed, online only data can cause issues. However, there are a lot of other concerns from end user angle, including split of data across too many web sites. This would certainly not be good from a long term perspective.

As major corporates have learnt, individuals would soon start seeing that, it is the data that is precious. and they could start seeing that as a barrier in using many upcoming hosted services.

Here are some more points about the short comings of web apps.



I’m moving back away for online storage. I used to think it was great, and apps like Gmail allowed me easy access to data, but now I combine it with ‘off-web’ storage via downloading emails to my PC and then backing up.

The day I was stuck on the phone with a client and could not access my Gmail calender, hence making me look like an arse was the clincher.

May even get another paper diary for 2007 :-O

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