Online Storage Horror StoryEric Webster at Intronis Technologies sent me a storage horror story, involving a service provider that lost the backups of more than 7,500 customers. Now, the same story is making headlines across the blogosphere. Here's a look at the details, plus the implications for managed service providers.

Basically, Carbonite has filed suit against its disk array manufacturer because of a system failure that sent 7,500 customer backups down the drain. The Boston Globe offered some initial coverage, then the buzz spread to Boston.com and ComputerWorld.

Essentially, the Carbonite story has gone global. Imagine if that was your company. And imagine if one disaster made headlines across the globe.

Webster from Intronis doesn't pull any punches when he analyzes Carbonite's setback:
"It is interesting a company would blame this type of catastrophic event on hardware failures, when this particular online backup vendor made a conscious decision to purchase cheap hardware to protect their customers' critical data."
I've got a call into Carbonite for their perspective. In the meantime, Carbonite's attorney is on record with Boston.com, stating that Promise Technology's system "didn't perform to the specifications that were represented." In that same Boston.com article, a Promise VP said their was no merit to the allegations.

Lessons Learned

On the one hand, Carbonite's setback is an opportunity for MSPs to step forward and tell customers why their managed storage solutions are rock-solid and trustworthy. But on the other hand, the Carbonite story could spin out of control and the mainstream media may wind up questioning online storage, software as a service, cloud services, etc.

Let's keep things in perspective. Customers and the media do have to ask the hard questions when it comes to protecting customer data. During phone conversations and email exchanges this week, I've heard similar advice from Datacastle, Intronis and other online storage specialists. For instance, customers should make sure their managed storage providers:
  • Maintain two copies of customer data
  • Backup customer data in two redundant data centers -- located in different geographies
  • Truly understand and leverage encryption
  • Adhere to government compliance mandates
  • Got more  tips? Share them in the comment area below.

Storage: Everybody Does It?

Hundreds of managed storage companies and data protection companies compete in this market. From A to Z -- Axcient to Zetta -- new online storage companies are launching all the time. A polite reminder: It's not possible for MSPmentor to call or email hundreds of sources for a single blog post, nor do we promise to call our sponsors for a story involving their target market.

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