I setup Backupify the other day. (They’re giving away free accounts until the end of January.) It’s an interesting service – they provide an automated backup interface for your personal data in the cloud to a repository on Amazon’s S3 cloud.
It’s certainly an interesting offering and a useful one at that. Too many people just figured out how to backup their desktops and laptops; now with more and more data moving to the cloud, these backup strategies are going to need to be revised and expanded.
After all, we’ve all seen those posts on the Google support forums about vanishing Gmail accounts and no response from Google. As more and more data is moved to the cloud, this situation is going to be magnified across providers. It’s nice to see someone like Backupify helping to make it easy for people to do something to protect their data, though no provider is entirely redundant as one company that relies on Amazon found out. Will we soon have cloud providers that are “too big to fail”?
Of course, the other side to this is, as Joel Spolsky correctly points out, it’s great to talk and talk about backup, but being able to restore the data is key. This is the part of Backupify that hasn’t been automated yet and in some cases (like Twitter) may be difficult at best to accomplish, as pointed out in the FAQ:
How do I restore my data if I lose it?
It depends on the account. For something like Flickr, we can restore your account to a state very similar to what it was before you lost it. This isn’t yet automated, so our programmers will have to do it manually for you. For something like Twitter, we can’t time stamp a tweet so we can never really restore you account. The best we can do is re-tweet everything for you at one time, but your followers would probably hate that. If you have specific questions about specific services, email us and we can answer them for you.
Hopefully, restore, along with some partnerships with vendors to facilitate such functionality, will be the next cool feature they add…