Where is your cloud data? Can you find it all?

cloudIt must be Monday as I am finding myself thinking about everything I do and more importantly, where all my stuff is stored.  We have long covered cloud technology and made cases for keeping as much of our stuff stored in the cloud as possible.  It is handy and becoming easier to do without a second thought, and that in itself may become a problem.

I’m going to purposely avoid defining the cloud, partially because it means different things to different people but mainly because I’m not brave enough to do so.  I will say that for the purpose of this article I’m not talking about my documents that might be stored somewhere in the sky, no I’m talking about all the peripheral information that has become cloud data simply by virtue of how I create it.

One of the biggest obstacles that folks mention when the subject of cloud adoption comes up is that they don’t feel comfortable with all their data in one place.  We are basically people who like to have control over our stuff and this argument is not surprising.  What might surprise some of these folks is realizing their data is actually scattered all over the cloud and it might be a good idea to take stock what they have stored where.

Many folks use Flickr to store photos so they may have a ton of data in that particular cloud.  This would be separate from all the documents and files that might be stored with SugarSync or one of the other cloud storage facilities.  Other folks may have stuff stored with MobileMe at Apple, or some other online storage service.  Then there are online PIM data services that many use, such as Google Calendar and the like.  Don’t forget LinkedIn or Plaxo if you use one of those online services.  All of these have your data somewhere, and totally out of your control.

It is much more common than many realize to have personal data spread all over the cloud.  Most of the time we don’t think about this, we just use our data on these services and keep plugging away.  The fact of the matter is any company with a service you use may go away and you’ll need to get at your data to move it somewhere else.  Don’t think this couldn’t happen to you, thousands of I Want Sandy users are still reeling over the shuttering of this popular service.  Maybe it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out where all your data is spread over the cloud, just in case you need to get it back.


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