Recently, T-Mobile USA had to admit that they lost personal data belonging to Sidekick customers and only a small fraction of it could be recovered. The news resulted in damaging PR for the carrier, as well as tangible financial losses as they offered customers a $100 customer appreciation card, in addition to a free month of data service.
This news, while it did not affect BlackBerry users, leaves us wondering just how secure is our data? A BlackBerry can store your data, back it up to a computer, or connect to a server such as Rackspace, which can offer Microsoft Exchange storing and restoring of your data. App World adds a new dimension to our data storage as we now have a plethora of applications taking control of our data storage and restoration as well.
As applications become increasingly popular, with data being increasingly stored on the cloud, we are trusting these organizations to keep our personal data safe.
When speaking with Jasmine Noel of Ptak, Noel and Associates, it became very apparent that there doesn’t seem to be any standards associated with data storage and restoration. While carriers and third parties are increasingly taking control of our data, there is very little in the way of ensuring that your data is in good hands. It all comes down to trust, but that simply isn’t enough.
Getting a best practices and standards system could really address this issue but it isn’t easy. We want to know that if we are entrusting our data to a company, that they can be relied on to restore said data. When the Microsoft Danger servers that were charged with restoring Sidekick data failed, we found out there was no backup system in place and that the data resided on the cloud, with little ability to be restored. We could have avoided this with more transparency.
We want IT professionals to get together and understand what their back up and restore capabilities are. Do they test their processes internally? Can we see the results?
Now, some will take the opinion “if it’s important, you should never trust anyone else to hold it for you.” This is a solid argument but it’s not conducive to growing the industry. Consumers and enterprise should both be able to trust their service providers to hold data for them without having to have a redundant storage process. It’s this trust that is going to propel the smartphone industry forward, but service providers need to earn that trust.
So I put the question to you: Do you trust third parties to be able to restore your data? What proof do you have that they deserve this trust?