Following the government shutdown of MegaUpload, many users are complaining about their inability to access their files. Let this be a lesson for the rest of us.
Internet file-sharing website MegaUpload.com has been shutdown by the U.S. Department of Justice because of an alleged conspiracy to infringe on copyright. The company’s top executives have been arrested, the data centers that hosts files have been raided, and the MegaUpload.com domain is inaccessible – as are the files that people have stored on MegaUpload.
On Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, users are complaining because they are unable to access their personal files stored on MegaUpload. Some are musicians who used MegaUpload to store or send studio session files, some have raw video and .zip files of personal photos, and others have archives of files stored for work purposes. That’s an immeasurable amount of data suddenly lost because users committed the cardinal sin of file storage: keeping files in only one location.
Losing one’s data is a hard lesson to learn, but it’s one that must be learned – hopefully by someone else. I know firsthand that storing files in one place can be catastrophic. A few years ago, my computer hard drive was corrupted, causing me to lose a few gigs of music, family photos, and video files. I was fortunate enough to still have the bulk of the collection stored on an external hard drive, but a big portion of my collection had not been archived. It was all gone in an instant.
Cloud storage is often seen as a clever way to back-up files, but it is not fool-proof. Though MegaUpload was used mostly to send large files one at a time or for sharing purposes, there were people who used the service to store personal files and archives that may have been too big for storage lockers like Dropbox, SkyDrive, and SugarSync. Their misfortune is a reminder that having multiple clouds couldn’t hurt.
At the moment, I have my most critical documents stored on Dropbox and SugarSync. Should the unthinkable happen and either service gets shut down, corrupted, or suffer a temporary outage, I will still have access to my files. I’ve also started getting into the habit of syncing folders with Bitcasa, a new storage service currently in the invitation-only phase. These are just a few of the many companies that offer cloud-based storage for your files. And with the prevalence of these companies, who all offer a basic package of free storage and premium options should you need more space, now is as good a time as any to have a back-up for your back-up.