Jennifer Tribe

Article Summary:

How should you backup your data?

The Importance of Data Backups

Back in January, I mentioned that a flood in my office made me thankful I perform regular back-ups of my hard drive. Though my computer wasn’t damaged, the flood reminded me of just how easily something could happen, and how devastating that would be to my business.

Then in March, I ran across an article in Utne magazine about an unlucky author whose laptop had been stolen on a plane trip. In the article, the author lamented how he’d lost years of his writing: poems, radio scripts, essays, book chapters. He was angry with the thief for stealing his hard work.

OK, I can understand being upset that your laptop was stolen - but if his writing was so valuable to him why didn’t he have an extra copy somewhere else?

It got me thinking that maybe there are other information producers out there putting their livelihoods on the line every day without even knowing it.

Think about all your research, your recorded teleclasses, your book manuscripts and newsletter archives, the lot of it – suddenly gone. Could you ever recreate it all? And if you could, how long would it take you? How much money and sleep would you lose in the meantime?

If you’re an information producer, you simply must have back-up copies of everything. There are plenty of simple and cost-effective back-up options so there’s no excuse for not giving yourself this insurance. Below are three storage options to consider. All you need to do is make a copy of your important files on these storage devices or locations.

Removable Storage Devices
Storage is going mini! The devices keep getting smaller while the amount of data they’ll store keeps growing. You can find miniature USB drives no bigger than a stick of gum that will hold 2GB of data. These drives plug directly into the USB port on the back of your computer, then can be removed for easy portability.

CDs
Many computers feature built-in CD or DVD burners, making it a simple task to perform regular back-ups. If you create two copies of each disk, you can keep one in your office for fast access in the event of a hardware or software problem, and send another off-site in case of a disaster such as flood or fire.

One advantage of CDs over a removable storage device is that you can build up a library of back-up disks that are essentially snapshots of your work over time. With a single storage device, you are constantly writing over old data.

Online Storage
For a monthly fee with an online storage service, you can upload files directly from your computer to secure servers. These companies generally take great pains to ensure the integrity of your data, building multiple redundancies into their system to handle everything from power failures to viruses. Google “online storage” to pull up a list of suppliers and do your research before choosing one. Consult some review sources such as CNET or PC Magazine for recommendations. Backing up your files to a server won’t do you much good if the service provider goes under and takes all your data with it.

Like everything that’s valuable to you, your information products should be protected. The time and money you spend creating back-ups is a bargain compared to the price you’ll pay if everything disappears.

Jennifer Tribe is the president of Juiced Consulting, a company that helps business owners turn their expertise into money-making information products like books, special reports, teleclasses, and audiotapes and CDs. Jennifer holds a degree in journalism and has worked extensively as a writer and editor. Her articles on information products have been published in Management Magazine, Home Business Magazine, BusinessWoman Canada, and other leading publications. Subscribe to her free e-zine, Infopreneuring Strategies, at www.juiced consulting.com.

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