On Monday, Nick Saber had the harrowing experience of being temporarily locked out of all his Google services. A cryptically simple message saying ” Sorry, your account has been disabled” was the only clue as to why this happened. After sending several emails to customer service, Saber only got a vague automated response. Keep in mind, he’s also a paying customer.
Although Saber eventually got his account re-activated, this shows one of the possible dangers of the increasingly popular cloud computing. For anyone unfamiliar, the premise of “the cloud” is that software will be primarily web based, and data will reside on remote servers, not on local hard drives (think Google Docs, Amazon S3). So what happens if services go down when you need them most?
One solution is to have a local program, offered with a cloud service, to automatically back up chosen data on your local platform. Something that ties in seamlessly with your remote data. Either as a scheduled event, or as an easy option to “save local” when working in a cloud environment. Also, making customer service more human and responsive is key. Being able to get answers and fixes right away from a competent friendly real person, as opposed to sitting in auto respond email – call center hell, would be priceless.