The United States celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday with the usual exuberant overindulgence in turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Before you head out for the nation’s biggest shopping day, take a moment to be grateful for your backups.
Even though backing up your computer can be a tedious process, and it might be annoying to have all that storage space taken up with your drive images and file copies, or to be sending tapes and CDs offsite, or to be paying monthly fees for an online backup service, those backups are sparing you from far greater inconvenience and expense. Like insurance, backups can mean the difference between staying in business and going out of business.
I’ve talked to three people in as many weeks who’ve had serious computer failures. One colleague was thinking he ought to clean up and back up his Entourage database (which held all his mailing list information as well as his business contacts), but didn’t have time before going out of town. When next he tried to use the database, it had become hopelessly corrupted. Last I heard, the computer was off at DriveSavers (www.drivesavers.com). His chances of getting his data back are good, because there’s no physical damage to the drive, but the price will be high, and the timing was terrible.
There’s never a good time to have your server go down, discover that half your RAID 1 array has been dead for months, and *then* find out that your tape backups have also failed. Running a business which handles hundreds of transactions a day without a computer is no one’s idea of a good time. The dead server is in a white room at Lazarus Data Recovery (http://www.lazarus.com/) and the owner of the afflicted business is looking at alternative backup solutions.
A few days ago I was talking to a friend on the phone and she mentioned that she really would like to get a new computer soon. No sooner had the words left her mouth than her motherboard failed, though it wasn’t until she took the machine to the shop that she knew the problem wasn’t with the drive. Fortunately for her, she had backups of almost everything, no more than a week old—and she has a lumbering old computer that she can use to access those files while the main machine is repaired.
So if you have backups—be grateful. And if you don’t have backups—make some, and give yourself a reason to be grateful. There are probably some great external drives, DVD-burners, and other helpful tools available at the Thanksgiving sales.