Do You Have Your Work Backed Up?

At the end of last week, I fell victim to a nasty, viral bug that basically got onto my PC and locked loads of my documents – argh! 

Admittedly, I wasn’t really thinking when I opened the email.  It was titled ‘Invoice’ and as we have been doing a lot of work at home, I’d been printing off many invoices and receipts for our records.  Bad move!

Before I realised what I’d done, most of the spreadsheets and some other documents on my computer were locked up with a message to contact the ‘gits’ who had created it and pay them for the release code.  I was being held to ransom!

My initial reaction was a mixture of annoyed at myself, angry at the previous mentioned ‘gits’ and frustrated at the enormity of the potential task in hand.  I gave myself some time out with a coffee and thought about my best plan of action.

Luckily I had most of the documents backed up on external disc drives so I could re-build my library – I just needed to work out how to do it.

It took me most of Saturday to get everything sorted out and reorganised but I was saved by having the backups that I could use.  I did lose a few things that I had plonked on my desk top out of laziness (lesson learnt) but all in all, it could have been much, much worse.

keeping your work safe

So my question to you is: do you have copies of all of your work?  If you don’t, learn from my mistake. Firstly, don’t open random emails especially if you don’t know who they are from.  More importantly, get into a routine of copying your documents so if you have a technology meltdown, get a bug like I did, or someone steals your equipment, you have copies of everything held safely.

The ideal and recommended way to do this is to create two copies, one on an external device of some description and one on the cloud based server.

The external device can be as simple as a USB flash drive with a large memory. Pick up one next time you do your weekly shop.  They are cheap and you will be able to either set your computer to back up automatically or manually copy over your document folders to them.  Make sure you then keep the USB flash drive somewhere safe and in a different place to your computer as an extra precaution.

I use two external drives for my backups as they are scheduled to run after I finish work.  I swap them over most days (lesson 2 – I have now increased this habit) and keep the second one in a completely different place to my computer.  This way, even in the worst case scenario, I would have only lost one days work.

This system really came into its own when I realised the back up on the night of the above incident had run and had over written the good files with the locked ones before I had chance to rectify the situation.  Luckily, I had the previous days copies that I could use.

You can copy your files into online based servers such as Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive which offer some free storage and is an option if you don’t have huge amounts of information.  You can upgrade both these options if required.

There are also number of paid backup services available.  You install software on you PC which scans your storage for files worthy of backup, encrypts them for security, and sends them up to the cloud.  The cloud is powerful, secure, and high-storage-capacity server computers attached to the Internet with fast connections.  Once your files are stored on cloud servers, they’re accessible for you to restore to the same PC, should a file go missing.

For the rest of this article by PC Magazine all about online backups and comparisons of recommended provides of this service, click here.

Whatever you decide to do, please make sure you have copies of your precious work as it will save you time, money and a lot of hassle in the long run.

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