I'm actually thinking of taking my stuff off the open internet and setting up my own email server in my, gulp, house.
GMAIL, Facebook, Twitter and Lastpass have all had serious hacks in the past couple of years. I think the in vogue status symbol in the next couple of years will be to create your own cloud service in your closet and back it up to the cloud encrypted.
There might be a cool startup there: home cloud systems that leverage redundant broadband connections (dsl + cable + fios) in your home that are harder to hack. They would be harder to hack because they are not part of the tareted BigCos right?
anyway, just an idea... "google docs server for home"
> They would be harder to hack because they are not part of the tareted BigCos right?
Not neccessarily. A lot of totally unknown installs get hacked all the time (cf. random WP blogs) by script kiddies who scan thousands of adresses trying to find a few to get into. They don't care you're not a BigCo and that your server is in your basement.
And if you're taking care of that server yourself (and assuming you do have other things to do in your life), you're likely to miss some security upgrade, and might leave a hole open just enough for someone to accidentially stumble into.
I presume having the server only accessible through a VPN, and configuring all your devices (laptops, tablets, phones) might do the trick, but that's a bit pushing it.
"They don't care you're not a BigCo and that your server is in your basement."
Correct but the issue to me is not "what can the neighborhood general store do themselves". It's wcfwd - what could Fred Wilson do. Fred doesn't have to fly coach (although he does fly coach apparently).
I have this discussion fairly often as a founder of GitHub with folks that don't trust 3rd parties, but I think it's unwise to assume you're more prepared to defend against attacks than cloud providers that employ people to worry about it constantly. Reducing your exposure by bringing those services to your home isn't a sufficient security measure.
True. But a simple server in a closet hosting only your data is less likely to get the attention of a determined attacker. I guess the argument is similar to the Windows vs Mac security argument in that one may be more secure but the other may be safer for most people because of the incentives and economics at play.
I wish there were good open source alternatives to Gmail, Facebook, Twitter etc. that you could just install on your own server. But as it is now leaving cloud entirely would require significant effort, time and knowledge to setup and when you do, you would still lose a great part of functionality provided by the cloud now.
I agree with you on this. I'm surprised that someone like Fred wouldn't just setup his own servers somewhere, even colo, with a mirror elsewhere which would make more sense then relying on a google docs or anyone. I've done it this way since the 90's. The only drawback is having the expertise to do it right and the cost. Something that shouldn't be an issue to someone with money and access to expertise like Fred.
I agree with the other comments that you are less of a target in general also depending on where your docs are located (or where your server is colocated even if it's your house).
Fred is going for the low hanging fruit solution to a problem. Not necessarily the best solution.
Cost includes time spent setting it up and maintaining it, which includes time spent cleaning up the mess when an upgrade breaks something. Upgrades shouldn't break anything, but sometimes they do. Also, he'd retain the primary responsibility for making backups, which he explicitly mentions as something he likes not having to do any more.