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Swissdisk suffers spectacular cloud snafu

All user data may have vanished into thin air

Application security programs and practises

US cloud storage supplier SwissDisk has suffered a catastrophic hardware failure resulting in users being unable to access their data.

Last week users reported problems accessing their data. After first saying emergency maintenance was underway and that users could "rest assured that (their) data is safe," SwissDisk support sent an e-mail on Saturday, October 18, to its users which said:

Attention SwissDisk Users, We regret to inform you that due to an unplanned and unforeseen catastrophic hardware failure caused by multiple simultaneous events the engineering staff was unable to restore the SwissDisk file server to it's previous status.

...

To prevent any future outages SwissDisk management has signed a contractual service agreement with a $40B company. For the first time this will enable SwissDisk to provide our customers with a 99.95 per cent service level agreement. SwissDisk users will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with access to a truely world class, internationally deployed, multi-million dollar, extremely resiliant storage infrastructure and internet network.

Swissdisk management has decided that during this downtime that they will spend considerable resources to migrate the SwissDisk system onto this secure, fail safe, state-of-the-art platform. The New SwissDisk will have virtually unlimited redundancy powered by one of the most respected and reliable modern storage architectures in the world.

Use of these powerful network resources combined with the security of the propietary SwissDisk software will provide SwissDisk users with unparalleled reliability, safety and security for their data.

SwissDisk Management would like to extend the following offers to our customers:

To all customers with free accounts, please watch the www.SwissDisk.com home page for updates for the release of "The New SwissDisk" service. Truely reliable, free secure storage is coming!

To all SwissDisk customers with paid accounts, we will be offering 6 months free service with double the secure storage space on "The New SwissDisk".

Please note, due to the unplanned outage all accounts will be required to re-register.

The entire SwissDisk team would like to say thank you to all our customers for using SwissDisk. Further we are very sorry for the interruption in service and hope that you will continue to believe, as we do, in the security and privacy that a SwissDisk account offers.

Sincerely,

SwissDisk Management

A user said: "The email is bit unclear. At first it sounds like they are trying to recover the data but then they say "all accounts will be required to re-register" which makes it sound like everything is gone."

There is no announcement about this on the SwissDisk website and SwissDisk was unable to comment immediately about the issue.

SwissDisk offers a "service of accessible, easy to use, encrypted filesystems for online storage and backup. Our hosted subscription-based service is perfect for consumers and small businesses that need easy 1-click, drag-and-drop access to their confidential data." Windows Explorer and Mac OS X Finder users access the SwissDisk File store using WebDAV.

The encrypted file storage uses SwissDisk's in-house devloped SDrive technology and can be accessed by any web-enabled device. Because data is encrypted, only SwissDisk users with keys can access it. Customers are said to come from financial institutions, law firms, media professionals, architectural firms and security-conscious businesses.

The company was started in September 2004 by brothers Ben and Ken Collins and was bought out by Next-Star in December that year.

With the Sidekick data outage fresh in everyone's mind, it's obvious that, at this stage of the cloud computing service game, all cloud service providers, be they large or small, can fail. Users had better protect themselves against such failures if the service they get from a cloud service supplier is critical. ®

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