The perils of poor data management were brought to light in a recent suit filed against Google LLC by a Californian software company that lost all its corporate data.
One of the key strengths of cloud applications is that the professionally run data centres that host them are generally much better than the average user when it comes to storing and protecting data.
But even mighty Google can’t always protect users from themselves, according to the suit filed by Musey Inc co-founder Christiaan Fulton in the US district court in Oakland, California demanding the reinstatement of its data.
On the morning of Saturday 8 June, the complaint reported, “Our Google Gsuite account was accidentally deleted. The Google service person assured us he would be right on it… To our dismay, our case was not escalated and no action was taken for three days.”
All of the company’s product development and user testing work was stored within Google’s vaults, along with personal medical information about one of the employee’s relatives.
After increasingly desperate attempts to contact Google in the following weeks – difficult without an email account – the company eventually got a one-line message back stating that the company’s data was lost and could not be returned.
If Musey wanted access to its data, the company was advised by Google that it could file a subpoena or civil request – resulting in the case document filed in Oakland. From information provided in the complaint, Google has put in place a standard process for dealing with any data request via a third party legal services provider in Sacramento.
Leaving aside Google’s internal processes and responsibilities to customers, data accidents do happen. It’s very easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by the omniscience of the great cloud search engine and app platform.
Maintaining secure, offsite backups is one of the foundations of business continuity and the case papers in Oakland include a link to the Google Takeout service that allows a user to download data stored in their account. Any G Suite user who wants to avoid a disaster of the kind encountered by Fulton would be well advised to make use of Takeout on a regular basis.
About John Stokdyk
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.