Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Google Accidentally Deleted $125 Billion Pension Fund’s Account

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The Google Cloud logo at their booth at the Hannover Messe 2024 trade fair in Hannover, Germany.
Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Google made a big mistake recently. The company accidentally erased the private Google Cloud account of a $125 billion Australian pension fund, UniSuper.

The result: more than half a million UniSuper fund members had no access to their accounts for about a week, The Guardian reported last week. UniSuper had a backup account with another cloud provider, and service was restored May 2.

“This is an isolated, ‘one-of-a-kind occurrence’ that has never before occurred with any of Google Cloud’s clients globally,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian and UniSuper CEO Peter Chun said in a joint statement obtained by The Guardian May 8. “This should not have happened. Google Cloud has identified the events that led to this disruption and taken measures to ensure this does not happen again.”

While Google said the mistake has never happened before on the cloud, the possibility for glitches and outages are cause for concern for companies and governments that increasingly move their data to cloud software providers. Google Cloud counts about 60% of the world’s 1,000 biggest companies and 90% of generative AI unicorns as its customers, the company said this year. And nearly half a million companies across the globe use Google Cloud as a “platform-as-a-service,” or client-facing tool, including Volkswagen and Royal Bank of Canada.

The U.S. government and intelligence communities have increasingly used cloud services for data storage. The National Security Agency inked a $10 billion deal with Amazon to move its intelligence surveillance data onto the company’s cloud. And the Pentagon has a $9 billion contract with Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and Amazon for cloud computing services.

This article originally appeared on Quartz.

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