People As Data Backup, huh?

Brett Harney Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery, Cloud

data backup and disaster recovery crucial for all businesses

Disasters do happen and every business must have a plan in place to guarantee business continuity and overall company survival. How certain companies go about data backup and disaster recovery can be creative when necessary. The on-demand ride-provider, Uber, has come up with a solution to protect its data wherever it travels.

Fortune reports that Uber is using their drivers’ phones as a data backup center. It’s a novel concept that only works in certain circumstances, such as Uber’s constant data on-the-move.

Uber uses drivers’ phones to keep a customer’s trip data in case a data center fails and Uber’s back end infrastructure needs to be restored in another data center.

When that happens, it can be hard to sort out exactly where things left off when the data center failed. For a business that is ferrying customers around very much in real time, this could be a huge problem. Imagine if Uber’s cloud back end failed while you were mid-trip and then restarted someplace else and the driver lost your route because your particular trip hadn’t made the transfer. At best, it could result in your trip getting lost in the ether, but at worst it could mean delays if your destination disappeared mid-route and you didn’t know how to get there, and your driver was similarly lost.

The data is encrypted, so the driver is not privy to your credit card information. The data stored on the driver’s phone includes the request of a trip, offering it to driver, the acceptance of a trip, picking up the rider, and ending the trip. Uber also randomly performs checks to ensure that the data it has on drivers’ phones matches the data in its data centers, as a means of making sure the backup is accurate in case the data center does fail.

As far as creating a backup goes, this is a pretty interesting way to solve a problem that could become more common as more real-time services develop. The cloud is not one monolithic service. It’s a network of computers that are located in a variety of data centers around the world. When you think about services such as Uber, a distributed backup becomes a really compelling architecture.

CTG works with our clients to ensure that connectivity is maintained for all employees at all times, that data is backed up and recoverable, and your business operates no matter where your employees are located or what may be threatening an interruption in services.