It’s a while since I wrote a blog post, I put it down to laziness but something happened this weekend, which should be a warning to others. And it’s all to do with the cloud.

I, like others have an account with a few Cloud providers (Dropbox, Skydrive etc) but when I researched this, there were very few providers that had an application or service that encrypts your stuff before it goes to the cloud-which means that when it’s in the cloud, no employee of that cloud provider can see what your “stuff” is. This was important to me (Dropbox don’t do, or offer this service, which was highlighted by a security breach this year). So I went with a company called Accellion, and their consumer offering at .It is free (always a bonus), and offers a very generous 12GB of cloud storage. They also come with an impressive client list for their commercial offerings. It is available on the web, on iOS and Android, so fits the bill.

So that’s the background, here’s the story. I logged on at the weekend (3rd Nov 2012) and booted up my laptop from its hibernation state. As soon as it settled down, I noticed a flurry of desktop notifications from the Kitedrive icon on my taskbar-
it showed all my files being deleted, in rapid succession. About 1GB of data, roughly 700 files or so. I never panicked at that point, as I thought it’s some sort of upgrade. However, when I checked 10 minutes later, all the files were still missing from the relevant Windows directory. At this point, I started to panic! I logged onto the web interface, and phew!, the files were still there, but I couldn’t get them back-not in bulk anyway, only by one at a time. A few hours passed and despite a few system restores, looking in my NAS drives, they were nowhere to be seen. I changed my password as I thought “have I been hacked, have the kids been messing about, do I have ghosts”. I knew I would get them back eventually but still had a nagging doubt as to why it happened in the first place. I decided to leave the laptop on, and see if it would sync up with the cloud (is that not the point?). 

Nothing happened for the rest of the day, until I was out that night and I got the following email from Kitedrive (I had sent a support ticket to them)

“Dear member,

We are updating our servers to increase kitedrive functionality and speed. Please upgrade to the latest kitedrive desktop client here:

If you have not yet updated your client you may experience some odd sync behaviour and error messages. All files are safe and secure on and will by fully synced again after you update your desktop client.

If prompted to enter a Hostname for sync, enter then sign in as usual to authenticate and connect securely.

Thank you,

Kitedrive Support “

and then this one later that evening

“Hi Stewart,

Sorry about all the confusion. We are updating our servers which requires
users to download and install the new kitedrive sync clients for both PC
and MAC.

All data is safe and secure on, but you are
experiencing the error messages and odd behaviour of the old sync client.

We should have sent out an email earlier and given everyone a chance to
update their sync clients before we did the update, but we made a mistake
and I'm really sorry for all the confusion.

We will do better to communicate in the future.

--Mash “

So in the end, the reason for all my files being deleted, and me being in a total panic for a few hours, was that the provider had done their upgrade back to front, and with no comms to their customer base-which is unforgivable, really. So a fail on that point but the first thing I did when I got the files back was to back them up to my NAS. A back up of the back up! Also some of the stories coming out of the East coast of the US, after Superstorm Sandy, makes me wonder how backed up the cloud really is?

The lesson learned here for me is for those really critical files, by all means put them in the cloud, but have them backed up somewhere else, somewhere under your 110% control! Don’t put your ALL your eggs in someone’s else’s basket ;-)