Cloud computing is gaining acceptance and adoption as bandwidth and storage become less and less expensive. The idea is to essentially offer storage and other resources as a service over the Internet, and we’re seeing more and more of this every day. MobileMe is a perfect example of cloud computing: your data is stored remotely and elegant software keeps everything neatly synchronized across computers, iPods and iPhones. iWork.com is another example of cloud computing, where you can save your work and run the iWork applications through a web browser anywhere in the world. As MobileMe offers a well-integrated off-site backup solution, it’s perfect for anyone needing secure off-site storage.

Imagine, though, that you put your trust in the cloud to the point that you stop making local backups to external hard drives, DVDs or USB thumb drives—and the service storing your data suffers from major data loss. Like all of it.

T-Mobile’s Sidekick service remotely stored data from mobile phones in a facility owned and operated by Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft. It blows my mind that there was one facility hosting all this data. The point of cloud computing is that your data is safe, and someone else is paid to ensure it remains so. To keep this data in one facility is downright irresponsible—what if it burned down, flooded, or suffered massive power failure? Redundancy is what makes this viable, and this is an example of extreme failure.

I know we say this over and over, but it can never be repeated enough: back up your data. If you use Time Machine or SuperDuper, that’s great. But consider keeping an off-site backup as well. This could be as simple as keeping a backup of your backup at work, updating it every month or so. Sync MobileMe often so your data is on your computer, backup drive(s) AND in the cloud. The worst part of our jobs is telling customers that their data is gone.

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