Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
The big news in the United States this week has been the wildfires in southern California. At least two friends of mine have had to evacuate their homes, though fortunately they were able to return within just a few days.
The question people ask when faced with suddenly having to leave their home is fairly simple: what do I take? With a bit of warning you might have an hour or two. If your house is on fire you might have precious few seconds or none at all. What would you grab as you ran out the door?
It all got me to thinking about how my own "running out the door" strategy actually falls short with respect to some of my digital data.
As I've mentioned before, I have a fairly complex backup strategy that among other things replicates a lot of information among the 8 or so computers that we have here at home. In theory any one of them could just up and die and while it'd be an inconvenience and perhaps at most one day's worth of data loss, that's all it would be.
Grabbing my laptop on the way out the door though, as I see myself doing in response to a catastrophe, is very different. Instead of having a single machine that dies, this scenario is that only a single machine survives.
That single machine better have the important stuff on it.
That realization will have me making two changes to my strategy:
The laptop will take on a higher profile in my nightly backups. I'll be making sure that even more of my important files are replicated to it.
My off-site backup also takes on a higher profile as well. Be it physically carrying external hard drives around, or backing up encrypted collections of critical files to the Ask Leo! server, this is the real safety net if I can't even grab the laptop.
Now, I've talked only about what I plan to do rather than making concrete suggestions for you simply because everyone's situation is very different. It might already be enough for you to simply grab an external USB drive with all your pictures and email on the way out the door. Or not.
Or perhaps you haven't considered this scenario at all yet.
At a minimum, you want to make sure that you do have at least a basic backup plan in place - the kind of plan that allows you to recover from, say, a total hard drive failure. The simplest thing to do then is to make sure that the backup you create is on something that's easily picked up as you leave your home in an emergency.
Be it wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, a simple house fire, or other disaster, it's something that is most definitely is worth thinking about and planning for.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11944 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse the hundreds of technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
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