Last week I was woken up in a hotel room in Hawaii by the sound of alarm bells and an announcement that a Tsunami was coming. We had to evacuate the hotel and the instructions were, “Take your essential personal belongings.” What would that be for you? If you had only a few minutes to prepare then what would you gather up (and would you have time?)
Hopefully you will never have to experience anything like this, but it did make me think about the huge amount of precious data we keep on our computers now. Family photos, business records, correspondence, years of work. Do you keep it all on your computer or laptop – it may not be a tsunami that threatens your data but a robbery or fire could be just as devastating. I was lucky to only loose a night’s sleep when so many lost everything.
Taking a backup is one part of a disaster recovery plan
While it may seem like of effort to keep a copy of your backup in a different location it is a lot less effort than replacing that data (or having no choice but to live without it and deal with the personal and business impact).
All good backup strategies should include a copy that is kept off site or at least well away from the other copies and in a secure location – if your backup is attached to your PC and it is stolen there is a good chance that the backup will be stolen too. Worse still, your PC is probably protected by a password – are your backups password protected?
Know the value of your backup data
How often you take a backup of your data and correspondingly how often you move one of these backups to another location depends on the value of your data and how easily it might be replaced (or lived without).
This is a question that only you can answer, but, I will do another post on some common backup strategies that you can consider depending on how much risk you are comfortable with taking. This can vary all the way from real time synchronisation between different computers to a simple copy to CD on a regular basis. It all depends on how valuable your data is to you and only you can answer that (although I will ask a couple of pointed questions and you can see how you feel about it afterwards).
In the meantime think about how you would feel if you could never access something on your PC again because it was irretrievably gone? This will help you to begin to assess the value. If you are in business you also need to ask how the Tax Man will feel about you claiming ‘my data got destroyed/stolen’.
Until next time I trust your backups are high and dry,
your ‘peoples geek’