Recently, I experienced issues associated with backing up information, causing me to lose work and want to sob uncontrollably. Since then, I have spent time getting to know the lovely folks at my local Apple Store, and have invested in several pieces of technology (one of which I mentioned in the previous post – Parallels for Mac – not necessarily for backing up information).
Today I’ll be discussing some important tips when it comes to backing up your information, and hopefully these tips come in handy, allowing you to avoid uncontrollable sobbery – because no one wants to watch that.
1. Ignorance is not bliss – back EVERYTHING up.
When beginning my foray into the realm of virtual work, I blatantly ignored the process of backing up my information. Sure, I had some things on flash drives, some things in my email, some things hanging out on dropbox…but these things weren’t all necessarily current and some were just too large to be backed up on any of those three options, so I lazily left them where they were on my hard drive, believing foolishly that hard drive malfunctions or user error were things that would never happen to me. Boy was I wrong!
After experiencing the loss of important work (work I had slaved over for weeks in some cases), I quickly realized that trusting technology is not always the best way to deal with the security of your files. So I recommend to trust MANY technologies. I now have my hard drive backing up hourly, daily, and monthly to an external hard drive, my working files backing up hourly to dropbox, and all important text-based documents backing up to Google Drive and USB flash drives, as necessary – call me paranoid, because I am.
2. Invest in technology that will save your butt!
I’ve made some personal investments and will be making several more in the near future. Losing information has been a traumatic experience, and I’ve learned that the amount of cash I would typically balk at when it comes to storage and data back up is worth the expense if it saves me from tears. Here are some items I have recently invested in (or will be in the very short-term – no I am not being paid to promote these products):
AirPort Time Capsule – There are other, slightly cheaper, alternatives to Time Capsule, and while the guy at the Apple Store wasn’t entirely convinced it was a necessary purchase, it will be a purchase for my business within the coming weeks. Why? Because of my sanity. Time Capsule backs everything up wirelessly and works double duty as a router – hooray!
WD My Passport for Mac – While not the best external hard drive, this little guy has proven to be a valuable purchase and comes with me almost everywhere. It’s lightweight, portable, and doesn’t talk back. It lets me back up information regardless of where I am.
Flash Drives – I have SO MANY of these and they are in every one of my bags. I use them predominantly for backing up documents, saving scanned documents, and backing up working files on the go if I don’t have my WD Passport on hand.
Dropbox – Get a dropbox account and upgrade it; you’ll quickly need more space than what is offered, and it’s a pretty small monthly investment for the service it provides. You can download the application and easily auto back up your information.
Google Drive – I haven’t had to upgrade my Google Drive account yet as I use it primarily for text-based documents, but if I had to (or if you were interested) you can upgrade from the free 15GB of space to 100GB (!) of space for a measly 1.99/month – chump change – DO IT!
3. Have a Good Emotional Support System
This one might seem a bit silly, but you’ll understand why it’s important once you experience your first loss-of-work. My husband is always my greatest support, and he didn’t let me down when I royally screwed myself work-wise; we spent about eight hours attempting to recover my data, he empathized, and was very understanding in my time of need.
Alternatively, consult your communities. Wherever your tribes are, you should consult with them about how they go about backing up information and what systems they have in place. Industries vary and one system for backing up information within one industry may not be the best option within another industry. Find out what your colleagues are doing and take their recommendations – worst case scenario, you end up with way too many methods for backing up information – a problem I would consider small (and cautious) in the grand scheme of things.