Don't trust your Web presence to third parties

A popular blog hosting service, Posterous, is shutting down next month.

Posterous is far from the first such service to spontaneously close up shop, leaving hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of users high and dry. Remember Geocities? Remember BlogSpace? Remember

There's an important lesson in this, one that's been well known for a long time but that bears repeating: If your Web presence is important to you or your company, you- not some third party- must be in control of it.

Moving to "The Cloud" is all the rage these days. The buzzword-laden Cloud promises better service and more modern technology without the hassle of managing things yourself. It scales to match your needs and budget.

At least, that's the sales pitch.

What many folks don't realize is that the term "cloud" comes from a symbol used on network diagrams that looks like- you guessed it- a cloud. It's techie shorthand for "we don't know or care who runs that bit or how they do it".

So, try replacing "The Cloud" with "Some unknown third party's computer". If that third party goes out of business, or changes their terms of service, or runs off to the Caymans with all the money and all the data, will the consequences be devastating for you?

If the continutity of your Web presence is important, you need to own the domain and you need to control all the code that runs the site. You can still run it on shared hosting- it's not too hard to restore from backups to a new shared host- but if you're dependent on someone else for the back-end, be prepared to lose the whole thing when that someone calls it quits.



Add new comment