What are you backing up?

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 12-Apr-2006 21:36

The avatar distribution site http://www.gravatar.com appears to be having technical difficulties. Their website at the time of writing is littered with sql errors (screenshot), and Gravatars are not showing up on Geekzone, and I assume are not showing up on other Gravatar enabled forums, blogs, and other sites.

The basic premise is that you upload your Avatar (small personalisation picture), and then all the websites you use that put special Gravatar code on their site, and hey presto - one upload to change all your avatars. They also provide an image URL that you can post as free HTML, to use in signatures etc.

So Gravatar.com goes down... big deal. Their are some paying customers though - $5 a month to get some extra features. What comeback do youhave when something you use on the web goes bung? Not much if the site is in another country. In New Zealand, you would be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act, but not if the business concerned isnt based here too.

So Gravatars arent so important in the grand scheme of things, but what about other sites I use?

What would the impact on me be if Geekzone was unavailable for some time? I dont pay for Geekzone access, I dont depend on Geekzone for anything other than it being a hobby/interest of mine.

My internet banking? I bank with Kiwibank. I havent checked their T&Cs - perhaps I should. I do ALL my financial dealings via online banking, and without it, it would cost me considerable time and effort (and expensive petrol) to get my banking done.

Email? I'm with Gmail. A free service, but I rely on it. My public email address(es) are '@gmail.com' ones. I guess I should pay a New Zealand provider for a domain name, so that in the event of a Gmail faliure/lawsuit or other problem, I could switch my domain name to a different mail provider, and maybe only lose a days mail at worst.

IM? Trademe? My favourite source code library sites? Guitar tabs? (I play acoustic.)

No Gravatar is not a problem for me, but some of the other services mentioned would make life difficult, or even cut off what amounts to the only real 'free' (ISP fees notwithstanding) contact I have with many family and friends, both locally, and around the country and further afield.

We all (hopefully) make regular backups of our critical data, but what backups do we have in place for our critical services?

More information

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Comment by juha, on 13-Apr-2006 21:32

It's an important point you're making there, and one that people fail to appreciate far too often. Outsourcing may be convenient, but how many people do a risk analysis for it? I'm always tempted to reply "hey, you get what you pay for so shut up" to all the freeloading kvetchers who complain about Hotmail etc changing their terms, but...

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