Press delete: the risk of outsourcing your data

Robert vamosi
By Robert Vamosi

A recent failure affecting T-Mobile’s Sidekick service caused thousands of customers to lose their personal contact information.

There’s nothing new about servers crashing, and something like this is sure to happen again, so you need to protect yourself against such losses in the future.

On Oct. 2, the servers used by the Sidekick service to store customers’ contacts, calendars, to-do lists, photos, and other personal information failed, as described in a New York Times story. During the process of restoring the servers, which are managed by Microsoft’s Danger subsidiary, the data files on the primary and backup servers were corrupted.

T-Mobile apologized to customers and offered subscribers a $100 credit on future products and services, as well as a free month of data service.

As you might expect, the reaction of Sidekick customers to this half-hearted measure has been overwhelmingly negative. Several hundred Sidekick users affected by the outage expressed their displeasure on the Sidekick Help site.

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Robert Vamosi

About Robert Vamosi

WS contributing editor Robert Vamosi CISSP, was senior editor of CNET.com from 1999 to 2008 and winner of the 2005 MAGGIE Award for best regularly featured Web column for consumers. He is the author of When Gadgets Betray Us (Basic Books 2011)