Thursday, August 30, 2007
Security of Online Storage and Online Software, Part II
I went on a little rant here about trusting a company and its online business plan as a mechanism for storing your data. As a follow up, we have these two stories:
  • Don't Trust the Servers: The danger of putting your data at the mercy of a company's servers was made apparent when Microsoft's own WGA servers crashed over the weekend.

      The Windows Genuine Advantage plan became a genuine disadvantage over the weekend when the server that verified users went down and began to disable operating systems around the world. At least, it disabled the operating systems of computers that checked into the home base to affirm their legitimacy.

      The WGA server outage hit on Friday evening and was finally repaired on Saturday. It was down for 19 long hours.

  • The Content in Google Apps Belongs to Google:

      An alert reader, SentryWatch, commented per my last blog that the Terms of Service posted on the Google Docs and Spreadsheets site assigns content rights of anything saved on Doc and Spreadsheets to Google. It's almost too incredible to believe, so here’s the wording from the mighty Google maw itself:

      "... you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, modify, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services...."

Although to be fair to Google, kids these days are to young to remember when a similar clause appeared in the Microsoft Office EULA and caused a similar reaction, albeit one not magnified by the ease with which people discuss it on the Internet.

But both stories do highlight the dangers in trusting things in the Internet cloud with core data or core functionality. And it highlights how the "good enough" standard of quality, when multiplied hundreds of times in the number of core users, will leave a large number of users affected by "minor glitches" that will render their services useless to them. Hopefully, before they're too invested in the online software/data storage vendor.

I'm waiting for some leftist to get all outraged and claim that we need a government program to provide backup services for everyone ("it's in the penumbra!"). They can then claim that Bushitler Fascist Fundies are mucking around in our personal data, and get to be outraged all over again.

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