In light of this month's massive data loss for users of T-Mobile Sidekick smartphone, I started to wonder if people really know who is storing their data. T-Mobile partnered with a company called Danger to provide a cell phone with tons of features. You can store your contact list, calendar appointments and photos. Fortunately, or unfortunately (now that its gone), your data was not stored on your phone but on a series of servers somewhere on the Internet. This is known as "cloud computing" and is the latest trend of Internet and wireless services.
I will not point any fingers, but I think Danger assumed T-Mobile was backing up the data, T-Mobile thought Danger was, and every Sidekick user thought one of those two "must" be backing up their data. Several weeks later, T-Mobile announced that it may be able to retrieve some of the data. This is little consolation for the business people who have already spent endless hours recreating their contact lists and calendars. It may be of some comfort to those who lost photos of once in a lifetime event (i.e. the birth of their first child, etc.) but all Sidekick users should be a little bit more wary about who has their data.
As more and more people and businesses start using cloud computing services like Google Apps and Microsoft Office Web Apps because they are easily accessible and "free," you may want to ask "Who is backing up your data?" and (more importantly) "Who else is looking at your data?"