Tackling my Personal Big Data Problems with the Cloud.

Hello My name is Luigi Tiano and I have Personal Big Data Problems.

Big Data. One of 2011 and 2012’s biggest buzzwords. Corporations are learning to contend with the Big Data Paradigm. AKA Unstructured Data. All our data. What is it worth? How long do we keep it? Will we ever need to access it again? It is ironic how I often find myself asking those same questions when accessing my personal data and files. Have you ever sent yourself an email so you could continue working on a document later on on a different device? Have you ever forgotten where you put the latest version of the very important presentation due for tomorrow? As we continue to create more content online and in the cloud, this problem will become more prevalent in our daily lives. We will eventually need to “index” this data at some level and make sense of it all. I have opted to the cloud to help me sort out these Big Data issues.

I consider myself a somewhat organized individual. Note, I can easily find myself working on 3 or 4 different devices in a 14 hour period. Despite my so called organizational skills, I have yet to find an effective way or process to work with my personal and sensitive documents in the cloud.

What is the cause?

Speaking with a close friend and fellow blogger, we came to the conclusion that the more devices we own and access, the higher the risk of misplacing or losing important data, files and documents. I often find myself digging deep into directories or using various search functions in different websites or applications to retrieve documents. I also end up having numerous versions of documents often wondering which one I planned to actually deliver. Email is another area of concern. I have several email accounts in relation to the various functions I carry out in both my professional and personal life. Can I find one ultimate email client to effective handle all my email?

My personal Big Data in the cloud?

My biggest concern when working with my personal data is “Data Loss”. Knowing the data can be restored in case of disk failure is paramount.  Accessibility is also of major importance to me. The data needs to be accessible from anywhere, anytime and on any platform. Security is important, however I do not treat this as a critical issue. I never have. I have a pretty strict policy of not posting or storing sensitive data anywhere online.

Making Sense of all this Data

At some level I would like to index all this data I access on a daily basis have it centralized. The ultimate goal is to make sense of it all. What do I really need? How much do I retain? What can I archive? Thus putting some “Business Intelligence” into my “unstructured” data.

In my journey to making my cloud enabled life more efficient, I have tried various tools along the way. Some better than others. Here are some tools I have used or currently using. Beside each one is a personal note (opinion) based on my knowledge of the service or product.


Google Mail – Currently using. The clear winner. It is fast, effective and gives me what I need. Storage was never an issue. However, I am not sure if it can consolidate all my email accounts.

Yahoo Mail – Stopped using it. Yahoo in my opinion, just plain sucks! Marissa Meyer has a uphill battle ahead of her. Their website alone is slow and reminds me a bad carnival which rolled into town.

Hotmail – Slowly phasing it out. It works… Not much more to say.

File Sharing & Storage

Dropbox – Currently using it. The synch feature rocks. It works. The recent public security breaches scare me a little though.

Google Docs – Currently using, but phasing it out. Just not sure I need it.

Google Drive – Tried it once. Not using it.

Refer back to Andrea’s post at 1CloudRoad.com as he discusses who will emerge as the winner in this tough arena of online storage.


Carbonite – Currently using it. Offering unlimited online backup starting at $59/year.

iCloud – Currently using it to back up my Apple devices

This issue is a work in progress for me as I attempt to streamline how I work my personal data in the cloud. If anyone out there can spare some comments on how to improve my personal big data issues, I appreciate it!

Thank you.