Cloud computing is a hot topic these days. According to some folks, everyone needs to move their personal and business computing to the cloud. Apps hosted online run the gamut from email to office productivity. Computers are being developed that work almost entirely online. For example, the Google Chromebooks connect to the Internet the moment they boot up. Email, documents, spreadsheets and presentations are generated and stored immediately online. If you lose or damage your Chromebook, you simply get another one and keep on computing.

It sounds great, right? But I want you to look at it from another perspective before you get too excited. Here at The Data Rescue Center, we perform emergency data recovery for people and businesses that have failed hard drives or missing data from accidental deletion and other data disasters. They bring in their hard drive. We assess the damage, provide a quote and recover the data. Did you see the first item? They bring in their hard drive.

If you lose your data online, you can’t bring in the hard drive. If the online service has hard drive failures, you can’t bring in the hard drive. If hackers break into the online servers and erase your data, you can’t bring in the hard drive. If your files are lost, damaged or stolen from a cloud server, we can’t help you. Nor can any other data recovery company. A data recovery service requires a physical hard drive.

Please understand that I’m not saying that all online services are unreliable. Many are conscientious and will take good care of your files. However, if something does happen to your data, you must deal with them, on their schedule, along with the hundreds or thousands of other users of the service as well. If your files are mission critical, if they are necessary to keep your business in operation, then you should consider the possible consequences and make sure you have both a local copy of your files as well as a backup somewhere.