Last night, I talked with one of my friends, and he said his laptop had died. I am not talking about Windows crashing; I am talking about the computer’s hardware being no longer useable. He told me that he hopes to get everything off the internal hard drive and save all of his work for his company. The simple truth is that this happens every day, and it can strike at any time. It would be best if you had a plan for all of your working files. If the internal hard drive has a significant issue, there is a good chance you will not get your files back! So what can you do to protect your work?
When I worked as a technology director in a school, I had a teacher come to be one day holding a flash drive. This teacher had tears in her eyes, and I knew something was wrong with the flash drive she was holding. She told me that her lesson plans were on this drive from years of working as a teacher. I asked what seemed to be wrong with the flash drive? She told me that every time she plugs it into the computer, it says something about needing formatted. I felt terrible, but I had to tell her that this flash drive was dead. Once it thinks it needs formatted, there is no way to recover the data on the drive. I know this is not what she wanted to hear from the only person she trusted to give her the answer she wanted, but it was confirmed the drive was dead, and all of the year’s worth of lesson plans were gone. Never trust just a flash drive to maintain all of your essential files. It is manufactured, and it will wear out over time.
So what is the answer to protect your data and ensure it will be useable for years to come? Cloud Storage! Cloud storage is maintained by a provider who keeps your data in one place. They usually spread your files over many large data centers all over the World. Best of all, you can use this data from where ever you may be—no more forgetting your files on the office computer or leaving your flash drive on your work computer. But I like to go one step further than using one cloud provider. I like to copy my files between two or three cloud providers and a local external hard drive. I have lost data before, and it will teach you if you do not protect it, no one else will. And never keep your working files on your computer. The only time I pull files onto my computer is if I am flying somewhere and do not have access to the cloud and might want to work on the files on the plane.
I hope today’s post will help you think about where your data is stored and how it is maintained. A wise man once told me that backing up your data is essential but keeping multiple copies of your data is even wiser. And my last thought is if you keep all of your working files on your desktop for easy access once a week, grab all of those files and copy them to some form of cloud storage. You will thank me one day for this tip.