What’s the point of the Data Centre?

Super quick post as tonight has been very busy with a pregnant friend unexpectedly needing help.

Anyway, last night I blogged all about the high tech zappy Data Centre where Baby’s Days have stored their data since around October 2013, I believe.  They started operating in April 2010 and between then and the Oct 2013 I’m not sure where the data was stored.  If anyone knows please comment below.

So back to the point; when I lost all my data, lots of current users cried, “oh what a fool, she should have had everything backed up!”.

But really.  Should I have?  Baby’s Days have almost 300 videos on their youtube channels with demonstrations for this and that.  They have also done online training.  I was a customer for 3.5 years and backing up Baby’s Days was never once mentioned to me.  There isn’t a single video to cover it as far as I could find and I’ve never been told to do it on any training I “attended”.

If all childminders are backing up essential parts of the system to USB sticks and storing them at home, is that very safe?  They claim to be the market leader in this, that means they must have over 30,000 customers (more on this claim in a future blog post, you wont be surprised to find out that I don’t think they have the most customers in the market) knocking around with memory sticks full of data.  What if customers loose the sticks on the train in a laptop bag?  Or their house gets broken into and someone takes them?  You might as well store customers data in your garden shed if you’re encouraging them to back stuff up to drop box and USB sticks, surely?

The Baby’s Days websites makes a big fuss about the security of their data, how it’s in a super data centre, how is backed up in a second location, you’re data can never go missing; which of course isn’t true if you have backed it up yourself.  They might not lose it, but you might! I wouldn’t describe that as 100% sure – would you?  Should customers be storing their back ups in a Data Centre too?  Otherwise just what is the point in paying this premium cost?

I always assumed all this harping on about back ups and second backups in a different location by Baby’s Days meant that customers didn’t have to back up.  I assumed the high yearly premium (higher than Mega Minder, Tapestry, Orbit and others for example) included great services such as backing up for customers so they would never have to make their own copies which could be lost or stolen.

I didn’t realise you should back up your data yourself and risk your data being lost of stolen.  All this risk because the company you pay £144 each year to, for a service to backup and protect your data, may decide to steal your data from you and refuse to return it.  Doesn’t anyone else think that’s a little absurd?

So ultimately, what is the point of the Data Centre from a customers perspective?  If you’re backing up your data to USB sticks or dropbox I really can’t see how it’s any safer than the old fashioned pen and paper method?

If anyone can shed some light on this for me it would be fantastic.  I understand why as a business they need to use a Data Centre, but what does the customer gain from this?  As ever comment below.

Baby’s Days Data Centre

Baby’s Days starting operating around April 2010.  It’s not clear where they were storing the data collected from customer during this time (do any readers know?) but since October 2013 their website has mentioned their use of a data centre.

The Data Centre is located in Milton Keynes and operated by a company called host it.  You can have a look on their website for more details on the services they offer and the prices for packages.

Briefly for those of you that may not know, a data centre is essentially a “house” for computer systems and other bits and bobs like storage systems.  All the “houses” are made differently and include different facilities avialable to each company leasing the space.  Some “houses” are split into “flats” and businesses share space (or racks.)

Anyway, a data centre is obviously pretty important to any company storing data for two reasons.  Firstly companies need the data centre to keep the information safe.  If there is a fire in the centre their backups need to be accessible to customers etc.  Secondly the data centre needs to operate smoothly so that its customers, customers, (in this case Baby’s days customers like you) can access and update their own data.

All this back information is pretty boring but kind of important as I will be making a few posts about the Data Centre over the next fortnight and it helps if readers know the basics.  This evening I am going to blog about the second aspect; what happens to Babysdays customers systems when the data centre hits a problem.

I have posted previously about Baby’s Days “head in the sand” technique to customer support.  It seems their approach to possible data centre issues is no different.

Take this tweet for example, made by the data centre.

01As you can see, it clearly says the data centre is experiencing connectivity issues.  On the same day over 50 posts were posted in the Baby’s Days Support Group with users experiencing connectivity issues.  The Admin of the group, Kel Thomas, spoke with Baby’s Days directly, here is what happened in a screenshot form the group:


Why is it that Baby’s Days are so reluctant to ever accept there may be potential problems?  In this case is seems the problem isn’t even their own doing, it’s an issue with their data centre, so why not be open about it?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself more and more.  If their system is as great as they claim why are they so defensive when potential problems crop up?

Maybe Baby’s Days do not believe their customers to be intelligent enough to understand certain problems?  Maybe they are worried that if they say, “small problem down at the Data Centre” they would get a flood of messages worrying about data security?

A good example of this is how they have recently removed the first photograph upload option from customers system.  Without even letting customers know why the change has been made.  When questioned Kel Thomas in the Support Group stated something along the lines of, Baby’s Days being fed up of answering questions about why it wasn’t working properly and so in the interest of simplicity they decided to remove it.  Without consultation or notification!  As an ex user I can tell you this would add an extra 15-20 minutes to my workload due tot he amount of photos I used to upload.

Alternatively it could be because Baby’s Days don’t know the reasons why some things don’t work properly as they don’t design the system in house?  Maybe it is arrogance?  Who knows, but whatever it is, it doesn’t do them any favours when it comes to customer support or company transparency.

Pop back tomorrow when I will post more about abut Data Centre issues and security of customers own back ups.