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We have all the heard the maxim ‘don't put all your eggs in one basket’ but what does it have to do with cloud computing?

Nearly every single IT support company in the country is offering the latest craze of cloud computing to the masses and, lest you accuse me of shooting myself in the foot, I do have a cloud division of my company, albeit not conventional cloud computing.

From using hosting email, off-site backup to entire hosted desktop, the service is out there and a lot of companies are moving to it as they are told it is more secure than conventional computing (another debate!). Hosted desktop involves shifting your entire desktop computer and plonking it onto a remote server somewhere in a data centre and then connecting to it through remote desktop or other method.

So what is the problem? There are quite a few but the main is if your internet connection goes down or the entire server dies.

When I worked in Mumbai, between June to September the monsoon came with insane amounts of rain which flooded the roads and people literally ended waist deep in water. On one occasion we went home early because the local phone exchange went down and naturally the primary and secondary internet lines followed suit.

Imagine if the entire office used hosted desktop ... no one could connect to their desktop and the company would be in serious trouble (to put it politely).

Back in London, where, incidentally, mini-monsoons are not unknown, I received a call one Tuesday evening. The caller asked if I could recover some emails. “No problem”, I said, “let me have the laptop, desktop and Personal Storage Table (PST) file.”

He told me he used a hosted desktop solution, I did some research and called the provider who told me that the entire desktop was hosted on their servers with no trace at all stored on the laptop.

The idea of using recovering software to recover emails from the PST file went out the window and the other method of corrupting and repairing the PST file was also not a option. So I asked the IT provider what the options were. There were none. I asked about backup policy? Seven days – seven days means they backup everything one Sunday and the following Sunday the tape is overwritten.

What lessons can we learn? Put all of your data with a cloud provider and you no longer have control of security policies or backup policies. If you are going to use cloud computing use separate providers for each service ... one provider for email and one provider for backup.

Why? Because if one provider goes under, gets hacked or burns down then at least the other provider is untouched and isolated.