The Pew survey on cloud computing reminded me of a discussion that Aspiration led in March, 2008. The topic was Best Practices for Hosted Data. The recommendations that emerged were:
- Know where all of your data lives (what Aspiration called "your data universe"). Keep this inventory up to date.
- Make sure you have access to a relatively recent local copy of hosted data.
- Have a backup procedure in place and use it regularly. Test the backups periodically to ensure that they're readable.
- Do everything you can to keep your data secure and private.
- Make sure your vendor(s) privacy and security standards are at least as good as yours.
- Understand the limits of free services.
- Ask up front: if you need to change vendors some day, will your data be portable?