The last time I posted was July 11. That night a lighting storm traveled through the Klamath National Forest setting off dozens of fires. We had over 1000 lightning strikes and started the next day with about 35 fires.
Many of them are still burning.
One fire was less than a mile from my home. The Little Grider Fire was a mass of bright flames at night, and an angry brown cloud of smoke during the daytime hours. It was on the hill right next to the wooded hill I live on. I thought I would be evacuated, and had to pack all my valuables. My computer was one of the valuable things I wanted to save, so out of the house it went. I sure missed it.
Packing up made me think of backing up important data. Fortunately I had a lot of my great stuff already backed up, and plenty of time to find a safer place for the computer itself. But what if I hadn’t? What if my evacuation had to be done within ten minutes after waking up in the middle of the night? The local deputy kept giving us this possible scenario – I didn’t make it up. What then?
When writing novels, I got into the habit of sending them to myself at my Gmail account. There’s plenty of storage space and Google seems like a very trusty, reliable place to deposit information. There are other options of course, and emailing them to several similar sites might be better. For a while I uploaded all my novels to a Yahoo Briefcase account.
But sites sometimes fail or go out of business – for example, the impending demise of personal Yahoo photo galleries. I recently got a notification to get all my pictures out before they closed the doors forever. That surprised me because I’d completely forgotten I had anything there.
Some sites are created to serve as backup portals. For a while I had the software for using Mozy.Com on my computer here. I never got to use it, however, because I’m on dial-up and you need a better connection to make use of the site. There are other similar online services. A Google search will help you find them.
A lot of people would take umbrage at having all their data on someone else’s site anyhow.
My best solution is an external hard drive. I recently purchased a small 160-gig Maxtor 3200. It was easy to install. In fact, I simply connected the cords, and it installed itself on my computer. I transferred all my web design files there. Now if I have to leave suddenly, I can easily unplug the external hard drive and carry it with me. It stores all my client records, client sites, my personal sites, financial records, and everything else connected with my web design business, plus hundreds of digital photographs and my collection of novels and other things I wrote.
I still think it is best to have all these things backed up elsewhere, stored on a remote site. You could create zip files and upload them to your web design site, or could email them to yourself at Gmail like I’ve done. Or use one of the online backup services.
Another option is to burn vital information to a CD which could be stored in a fireproof safe, in your car, or even in a bank safe deposit box downtown. I find that to be too time consuming, but you might like it best.
This is all to say that if you don’t have a back-up strategy, perhaps you should have one. It could save your business from an information blackout that would be very difficult to recover from.