Imagining the Worst (A Case for Backup)
At one time or another, most of us have lost work. An untimely power surge or outage, a corrupted file, or a failed hard drive can take with it the work of an hour, a week, or even years.
Years back, I suffered a string of hard drive failures that drove home the value of backing up regularly. Since then, I've owned Iomega Zip drives (remember those), burned CDs, and/or saved my works in progress to a flash drive regularly. But then I got to thinking about the wisdom of storing all this data in the same place. I've known writers who have lost their homes to fires and their roofs to hurricanes. I recently read of one whose computer and backup drives were all stolen by an especially thorough thief.
For a while, my ISP (SBC Yahoo) provided an online briefcase, which I used for several years to back up my writing, website, and photos files. It didn't allow for automatic updating, but I was pretty good about manually doing so every few days, and it also helped me move files between the two computers I routinely use. But I recently received word the service was being discontinued, and with my laptop's motherboard failing, I went in search of a new solution.
Joni recommended Carbonite, which offers encrypted, password-protected, automatic online backup of document files. After doing some research, I decided to check it out with a free 15-day trial.
It's working great. The initial upload runs in the background for a day or two and slowing the computer somewhat. But after that, the daily updates (it automatically saves new or modified doc files) run in the background so seamlessly, I don't even notice. And best of all, if I ever come home to find a great, smoking crater where my house used to be, I can recover all of my document files from any computer at my convenience. It's well worth the $50 a year in peace of mind.
I still have stuff to figure out. I don't know if I can add my desktop computer onto the same account, something I'd like to do since I switch between the two so often. And I haven't yet used it for recovery. Still, I thought I'd post this friendly reminder about backup.
Because disasters happen - and not just to other writers.
So what are you using to safeguard your important document files? Are you devout about it, lax about it, or just plain avoidant? Anyone have a different backup solution to share.