Friday, September 06, 2013

Preventing Data Loss

Data loss seems like a fitting place to start since it is currently our flagship product.  There are many ways cloud products provide different features, but I will not repeat those here as they can be found on our website on our Why Cloud Services page if you are so inclined.  Instead, I would like to encourage you to protect your data in any way you can.  For me, I can remember when data protection meant copying my files to a 3 1/2" floppy after I finished my report for the final time and making absolutely sure the data transfer light went off on the front of the computer before ejecting the disk.  This was long before there were free email accounts, hosted storage accounts, USB flash drives, external hard drives, and multiple computers / laptops / tablets in each home.  Obviously times have changed, and will continue to change at a rapid pace as can always be expected with the field of technology.

So what is the best way to protect your data from loss?  There are many schools of thought on this, but ultimately this is something only you can answer.  How about focusing on doing something, doing anything to protect your data and do it now.  If copying your files to a USB flash drive regularly is too hard for you to remember, set up an online backup account that will do this automatically after being set up.  If signing up for an online backup account is way outside of your comfort zone, start emailing yourself your most important documents.  The data will still be located in the cloud, but you will be the one moving it there.  Remember, the benefit of having your files located online is knowing that even in a disaster (fire, theft, etc) your data remains safe, where local backup copies are often unable to protect against disasters.

Before you make any decision about how to protect yourself from data loss, ask yourself what will be the impact of losing your data?  Will your life come to a crashing halt?  I'm sure most people's instinct would be to answer "Yes, losing my data would be catastrophic!".  But before you answer, consider how many files you use each day and how many files truly are irreplaceable?  Normally personal users find their irreplaceable files are photos.  Businesses find a much larger portion of data is irreplaceable.  Consider the emails you have saved at work, or the amount of time it would take you to recreate the budget spreadsheet you have been adding to for the last eight years.

The cost of data loss can range from inconvenient to tens of thousands.  So my tip for you today is to ask yourself how much is your data worth to you?  How much effort is appropriate to try and prevent your data from being lost based on how much it is worth?  Online backup services like ours start as low as $25 a year and flash drives can be found under $10 these days.  Whatever you do, start now and make it a habit to protect the data which is most important to you.  Good luck!

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