I have learned an important lesson in the last few days when my internet connection went on the blink – I have no backup plan! Thank goodness that I didn’t have a lot of internet-based classes going on, otherwise I would have been really stuck.
I ended up doing emergency email at the local Starbucks, where I had to sign up for T-Mobile service in order to access the wireless internet. It got me through the rough spots, but made me think hard about creating a good backup plan in case something similar happens in the future.
If you have started your business, have you thought about:
- What your backup plan would be if you lost access to the internet?
- What your file backup plan is if your computer begins to smoke and grinds to a halt?
- What your process is to create a hard copy and electronic copy backup of your calendar, contacts, financial statements and customer lists?
- Where your important paperwork is stored in the case of a fire or other catastrophe?
I sure am thinking about these things now, and I urge you to do so as well. I think we learn some of the best lessons from other’s mistakes, so back thee up right away!
On another technology note, some of you have told me that since I posted the "Top 10 song list" to my blog that it is taking an annoyingly long time to load. This is probably due to my total ignorance at creating audio files. (The process of creating song clips took me about 10 hours … and much forehead-scratching). Would any of you audio whizzes be willing to trade some coaching time for audio file editing? I have a feeling that if I shrink the audio files, it will solve the problem. But I could be wrong. Drop me a line at pcs (at) ganas (dot) com if you have any ideas.
It isn’t too late to join the free teleclass starting in about 15 minutes … just send a blank email to email@example.com, confirm your attendance with the follow up email and jump on the call. If you sign up and miss it, I will share the audio recording with you.
I look forward to getting back to my late-night writing sessions now that my internet is live again!
This is so important that I have started my own business to advise and help small businesses do exactly this: keep their data safe. From $300 to $1500 you can get a lot of redundancy and protection for your data, from theft, corruption, hardware failures, etc. A lot of small firms don’t know how to do this, so I’ve made it my business to help!
People might find this post from the Get Safe Online blog useful in respect of backing up: http://www.getsafeonlineblog.org/?p=41
Also, someone commented here about backing up paper documents. I am a pilot in my spare time and I have a paper log book – a very important analogue document – and I use my digital camera to photograph every page as a backup. This is surprisingly quick and effective.
I recently had my own technology hell (Technology Hell Never Brings Out the Best in Me http://www.coaching4lesbians.com/blog/2006/10/03/technology-hell-never-brings-out-the-best-in-me/) and what I most learned is the importance of backups that can be easily restored.
Offsite, easily accessible backups that you can easily restore are crucial. I was using Mozy (mozy.com) and while it worked fine, for restore sets > 2GB it did NOT work. A definitely pain – having to break all my restores up into little chunks. I now know I need to investigate something else.
I don’t have a lot of advice on the truly mobile access world since I don’t yet have a laptop and am not file sharing. You bring up a great point though — what is the best backup plan? Go to a wireless hot spot like you mention? Buy a cheap dial up account? Not totally sure….
I also keep a list of all the critical applications and drivers I need on my PC so that if I need to rebuild from scratch (like I did)… I know what I need and who to call.
Isn’t technology grand?!?!?
I had to contend with a planned interruption in my usual modus operandi when I sent my PowerBook in for repair. I thought I’d be just fine with a USB memory storage device and my Gmail account which was configured to send mail as if from my office email.
I discovered that it isn’t quite so easy. Even though I was using Google Docs and Spreadsheet, I couldn’t send out letters because I use iWork for my letters and that was on my Mac. To add to this, I only have one Mac so I couldn’t just move over to another machine for the week it took to get my laptop back.
The lesson I learned is to have a backup machine that runs the same OS and has the same applications so you can take your backed up data, plug in and carry on working.
Of course you have to take care of the basic stuff to. Here I am referring to regular data backups, keeping backups at remote locations and so on.
Nobody mentioned anything about the importance of phone backup. Losing your phone means losing your social and professional life.
Recently I came across to a very interesting service called http://www.zyb.com. Its a free online phone data backup service. So if you lose your phone the data will be safe and will be available online. Its a must have service for every mobile user.
On a variation of your theme … Don’t forget to scan (backup) your paper notebooks! I thought I had lost mine yesterday momentarily and was in a panic. Over 100 handwritten pages of brainstorms, ideas, URLs, conversation notes etc. from the last few months. I sure did learn a lesson.
Call me superstitious if you like but for those who believe in astrology keep in mind Mercury is retrograde at the moment 🙁
I’m a recruiter out of Boston and my firm’s technology is horrible. The computers are all over 10 years old and the president doesn’t even use email. He doesn’t believe in it. One of our computers crashed and we needed to spend $1500 to retrieve the data. Rather than impress the importance of backing up daily he now believes all technology is evil. Nice, huh?
I had to use Panera Bread and It’s a Grind last week when Road Runner knocked out my broadband at home. The nice part is that both of those are free (except for the drinks and calories). That’s the drawback of working out of a home–the residential broadband is slow to get fixed.
My Apple .Mac account is used to backup all my important information offsite. It’s daily, automatic and a nice little safety net. I’m a big fan of CD and DVD backups as well, but I should really store some of those offsite as well (bank safety deposit box maybe?). It’s just difficult to be consistent with offsite backups.
Most all Panera bakeries have free wireless internet and many Buffalo Wild Wings have free access as well. That is where I head.
Also there are a lot of online storage and Google-based products available.
I’ve had to think about this now that I’m writing a PhD. I set up a gmail account and each time I write material I email it to myself. That way, if my house burns down I can console myself knowing that I can still be an over qualified homeless person if all else fails!