Last month was Emergency Preparedness Month. Many of us have emergency kits and family communication plans, but are you ready for a digital disaster? I learned firsthand this month what headaches and hassles you can deal with if you’re is not prepared for a computer crash. Because my 2008 Mac Book was so outdated, I had to backup my information with flash drives. In the end I lost photos, Bookmarks and other data that was eventually retrieved, but it set me back $550 and a week’s worth of stressing about it.
We all have to face the reality that our computer hard drives will fail at some point. We are concerned about storing and protecting our data – our irreplaceable photos, music, movies and documents. Since the cost of an external hard drive is very affordable, what usually deters people from backing up is their not knowing how to approach the process. Below you will find 3 helpful ways to organize (or reinforce) your own backup plan.
Organizing Your Files. If you haven’t already done so, invest some time to collect and organize your important files into well-named folders. Usually the first thing you think of when you want to retrieve a particular folder is the best name for it. Some people find it easier to organize their files chronologically, while others prefer to do it by subject. There are also many apps to choose from that will help you to create and organize your digital data. Investigate them and find out what works best for you.
Backup Devices. Some people backup their files virtually on the Cloud or to their social media accounts. If you decide to use a physical backup device, there are several considerations. If you tend to travel with backed-up files, and having wireless streaming capability a necessity, then you can buy a small portable drive.
If you have crucial files that you cannot afford to lose, store your backup device somewhere away from your computer. Some ideas for places to store it include: a personal safe, safe deposit box, somewhere in your office, or with a trusted friend or family member. For critical files, you may want to use two backup devices. This way one can be accessible and the other is stored offsite, and you can switch them out regularly.
Backup Frequency Options. You’ll have to decide whether you need to just back up your directories continuously or at selected times. People who need their computing resources to be focused on what they’re doing should probably choose the latter option. Backups can be scheduled to occur in the early morning or late night hours, when the computer is often idle.
The most important step you can take to be prepared for the inevitable computer crash is to have a backup plan. Then put your plan into action and relish the peace of mind you have because you are ready for the day your computer kicks the bucket.