Having had that sinking feeling when my laptop declared ‘no os found’ (this means windows has departed your hard drive), I’m remarkably happy to be back online and with more or less all of my data intact. A quick trip to pc world for a new hard drive and external caddy (to be able to access my old drive) together with a midnight download of Acronis Disk Director 11 meant that I was able to rebuild my system quickly and without too much fuss.

Yes, I had backups available to me but in this case I was actually able to retrieve and repair the original hard drive meaning I suffered very little data loss. I’ve taken the opportunity to clear a couple of years of accumulated rubbish off my machine and it runs that much faster for it. Key learning outcomes from this event? Well, point 1, keep doing (very) regular backups and point 2, make use of “the cloud” but don’t rely entirely on it – which is where my normal theme of online marketing comes in.

Over the past year or so, it seems that one cannot move for references to ‘cloud computing’ which in essence is data stored on remote server groups that are 3rd party owned. So far, so good. But, and this is a substantial but, what happens to your data when it is remotely stored?

  • From a business perspective is it compliant with all the rules and regulations that you should know about.
  • Who can access that data?
  • If there’s a problem with your access to the data, how easy is it to work around? Really?

All of these issues were at the forefront of my mind today when I read this article. Sure, we all use cloud computing in some respects: flickr, google tools, facebook, to name but a few. But, when it comes down to it, you cannot beat having physical access to your data (or at least knowing it’s on a dedicated server in a specific location).

Obviously, on a personal level it’s fairly easy to manage the data and make these decisions for your own pc. However, if your entire CRM database with a million customers is floating in the clouds – it raises some interesting questions. Questions that if the average online marketer is being honest, they probably haven’t ever stopped to consider.