For One Non-Gmail User, Everything's Just Peachy

A month or so ago, I wrote about how Google’s apparent willingness to secretly hand over user data to the feds had made me rethink my obsession with cloud storage. Not – natch – because I have anything in particular to hide from Uncle Sam, but rather because if I’m going to have my data subpoenaed, I’d rather know about it so I can write blog posts and make self-promotional hay about it.

I also have a bit of a thing for physical security: storing my mail in a physical location rather than in the cloud so, even with access to password, no-one can hack into my old correspondence and share it with the world. Mentioning no names: TechCrunch.

Anyway, I followed through on my threat a few weeks ago, switching my mail from the cloud to a more traditional POP provider based outside the US. I store my mail offline in a lightly encrypted folder (as I say – nothing to hide. I’m all about paper and pen for sensitive stuff) and backup regularly to a disk stored somewhere else.

I admit, though, I did miss some of the convenience of the cloud: particularly the peace of mind that comes from knowing I can immediately access all of my old mail from anywhere in the world. And the fact that I’m not at the mercy of a corrupt disk or having to trek and get my backup drive.

Fortunately over the weekend Google made that regret go away. Not only did they manage to temporarily lose over 40,000 users’ mail but, as MG explains, they also admitted that their only backup was stored on a physical tape drive, somewhere in the back of beyond. So as it turns out, my method of mail storage is both more reliable (I haven’t lost any of my mailboxes; Google have lost 40,000) and easier to restore (I could have my mail restored in about an hour, Google’s users are still waiting).

Another score for keeping things old school.