The resilience of the cloud computing model as a medium for storing critical business data has once again been knocked after a server malfunction at a Microsoft subsidiary wiped out personal data stored by T-Mobile Sidekick users.
The T-Mobile Sidekick service was provided to subscribers by Microsoft subsidiary Danger. However a server meltdown over the weekend appears to have wiped out all user data stored in the cloud.
T-Mobile and Danger spelled out the scale of the disaster in a notice sent to all customers: "Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device - such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos - that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger."
The companies say they are working around the clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover the lost data, but caution that "the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low".
This latest blow to the cloud computing model follows a recent successful cyber attack on the Twitter microblogging service that was enabled by a personal security lapse that opened up access to confidential business data stored on Google Apps.
Neither incident points to a problem with the cloud computing model per se, however they serve to hightlight the potential pitfalls that lie in wait for financial services firms thinking of using cloud-based services for storing and sharing documents.