What would happen to your mystery shopping career if you lost all of the data on your computer? Without your email, shop records, photos and scans from mystery shops, income and expense data and other important files, you would be in a bind. As you make New Year’s resolutions, this is a good time to take the advice of my friend Leo, and make a resolution to protect yourself from a computer disaster.
This is a guest post by Leo Notenboom of Ask Leo!
If I told you that there was one fairly simple thing you could do, that once set up you’d rarely even have to think about it and that it could save you from almost any computer related disaster, would you be interested?
Such a thing does exist: it’s called backing up. If there were anything close to a magic silver bullet for recovering from almost any computer related problem, backing up religiously would be it.
Consider, for example:
- your computer becomes infected with a virus you can’t get rid of. Recover by simply restoring your machine to the most recent backup before the infection.
- you accidentally delete a file. Recover by restoring it from a backup.
- your computer’s hard drive fails and must be replaced. Recover by restoring your most recent backup to the replacement hard drive.
- you install some new software that, as far as you can tell, completely messes up your system and won’t uninstall properly. Recover by restoring your system from its most recent backup. Think of any computer-related disaster and there’s a good chance that a reliable backup makes recovery not only possible, but even easy.
Backing up does not have to be hard.
It’s been said that the “best” back up, like exercise, is whatever you’ll actually do — any backup is better than none at all.
But it’s not that difficult to create a backup process that regularly makes sure your precious documents, photos, files and even system changes have been squirreled away for safekeeping.
Yes, backing up can get complicated, but it doesn’t have to be, particularly for home and small business computer users. There are two basic and easy approaches that can provide the security you need.
The first is to purchase an external hard drive and dedicated backup software. Set up the backup software to take full backups of your system every week or every month, and then also take incremental backups perhaps as often as every day. Nothing older than a day can be lost since you can restore any file or even the entire system to its state as of any day on which the backup ran.
The second option that’s growing in popularity is to sign up for an on-line backup service. For a low monthly fee, these services install a small application on your computer that monitors for changed files and automatically uploads them to a secure location. You can then access those backed up files anywhere and restore them to any machine. While full-machine backups are typically impractical due to the massive amount data involved, if you have an always-on high-speed internet connection, online services may be a convenient and practical way to backup your most important data.
Remember, if your data is stored in only one place – be it on your hard disk or even in online service such as an web based email account – it’s not backed up and you risk losing it all. Resolve now to get a backup solution in place as soon as possible so that when, not if, disaster strikes you’ll be prepared to recover quickly.
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