With the current trend moving from desktop applications to web applications, more and more of our data is being stored in the data centres of computer service companies around the world, rather than on our computer hard disks like in the old days.
The benefits of storing data in the "the cloud" are that you can access your documents anywhere you have an Internet connection. However, you have to ask yourself what happens if my data go missing?
This month the social bookmarking site Ma.gnolia which I had been using for 2 years or so to store all my web bookmarks suffered a data loss which brought the service down, and it doesn't look like any of their data recovery attempts will be able to resurrect the data and the service.
I've also noticed that occasionally Google Docs has problems retrieving saved documents.
Luckily I was able to use Ma.gnolia's recovery tool to recover most of my bookmarks from the web cache, and have since imported them into delicious.com, but incidents like this should be a reminder to us all that it pays to take care of your important data and not to rely on such services to store data that is important to you.
Of course the hard disk on your computer could fail too, but you all perform regular back ups, so that's not a problem is it... :-)
Since I wrote this post Gmail had an outage and Techradar have posted a similar article as mine here...