Are you ready for the worst case scenario?
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Hi everyone, this is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some
of the many questions I get at askleo.info.
OK, I know we all get tired of hearing it, but we all need reminding, so I’m
going to ask it again: are you backed up?
Seems like not a day goes by where I don’t get a question that boils down to
“I’ve lost all my data, what can I do?” Learn a hard lesson, that’s what you
I honestly don’t care how you back things up. I’ve said before that
backup strategies are like exercise programs: the best one is whatever one
you’ll actually use. Be it a one button stock backup program to an external
drive, or a complex network of machines and perl scripts such as I run, you
Take a look at each machine you have, and ask yourself this question: what
happens if this machine dies. I mean really dies … the data on it is
totally unrecoverable; every hard disk is gone. If the answer is anything more
than a minor annoyance, you really need to look at what you’re doing.
You must back up, or you will be sorry. Take it from someone who’s learned
that lesson the hard way long ago.
Do you have a website or dedicated server at a hosting company? What happens
if that hard disk goes up in smoke? Or the server is compromised and
erased? Are you covered? Will your business be crippled, and if so, for how
You’re not done yet. For each on-line service you use, ask yourself a
similar question: what if that service went away, or you permanently lost
access? Annoyance or disaster? Think about photo sharing services, social
networking sites, or IM services. Would you lose contacts or important
I recommend strongly against using most free services as the sole repository
for critical information because I have lots of horror stories of people losing
contacts, resumes, college applications and even masters thesis because their
free email account was hacked. That simply shouldn’t happen, all of that should
be backed up on a local computer or on some other server.
Now I know many of you are you the technical go-to person for friends,
family members and others. Even if you’re totally backed up yourself, ask these
questions on their behalf and help them set up some kind of backup or disaster
Let’s face it – you know exactly who it is they’ll go-to when (not if) that
disaster eventually happens.
I’d love to hear what you think. Visit ask leo dot info, and enter 10433 in
the go to article number box. Leave a comment, I read them all.
This is a presentation of askleo.info, a free on-line technical question and
answer service. Hundreds of questions and answers are online and ready to help
solve your computer problems.