It’s not just fire you need to worry about. Anything can happen, and it will (See this link and the picture of the two week old MacBook Pro below. How do you think that data is doing right now?). You could drop your iPhone, iPod, or laptop or any of those devices could get doused with water, lost, or even stolen. Hurricane season is coming. You’ve got water, wind, surges, power outages, and perhaps even looting if it really gets bad.
Here’s a typical email from a client. This one came today:
My daughter has a MacBook which we bought in June 2008. It has served her very well. Her roommate spilled a Coke on a chair but never told her. The computer was there. It was not until my daughter tried to turn it on that she found out. She is devastated because she never backed it up as I repeatedly told her to do. She wonders if there is any hope to just recover her pictures. She doesn’t care about the music or the documents. She lives in CA and I can have her ship it to you or whatever.
Thanks for answering. I suspect this is hopeless.”
So no matter how careful you are, bad stuff happens to good people. In this client’s case, she should have been backing up as soon as she started generating data she cared about AND because her MacBook is more than two years old, she should have been thinking about a hard drive replacement anyways. Another situation is waiting too long to back up.
Ok, you never had a back up, you read a Blog post or an article (like this one) that disturbs you, and you start backing up. You try to back up your data, and in the first full copy it fails and you suspect you did something wrong, so you head to the Apple Store. There’s a problem: Your hard drive is already too worn out to make a full back up and when you try to back it up sitting in the Apple Store at the Genius Bar you end up even further away from your data, because as the Genius is helping you back up, your hard drive is still inside your laptop where it’s failing. The more it fails, the hotter it gets, and the hotter it gets the more it fails, and it CAN literally DIE right then and there.
When you buy a new computer, you really need to also budget about 20% of your computer’s purchase price for the other stuff you need to protect your digital life. A backup hard drive, a stack of blank CD’s. a copy of LoJack for Laptops, and maybe even a subscription to Mozy or CrashPlan Pro. The trick here, is to start backing up when you start generating data, and you keep backing up for as long as you generate new data. By the way it’s not a real back up if it’s not automatic, redundant, and also has an off-site element!
Do it now people! I see good people lose precious data on an almost daily basis. One client lost years of pictures of her deceased son. That one really sucked. Back up, rinse, and repeat and take one of those backups off-site!
MSNBC Video: Disaster-proof your digital possessions. Backup and then take it offsite so says Consumer Reports (and MacMedics)! http://is.gd/u1wEcR
Also see: 9 Things We Wished We Did Before Our House Burned Down. http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/01/on-a-serious-note/
Here’s the list in case you don’t make it to the article, but please take a minute to read it:
1. Subscribe to an online data backup service (my external back up drive sat right next to my laptop in my office).
2. Keep passports in a safe deposit box. (MacMedics Pro Tip: Make copies as well and store digital copy in your new online backup service too!)
3. Take pictures of each room initially and update them as improvements are made (storing them somewhere offsite – like Flickr).
4. Take pictures and keep hyperlinks of all expensive purchases, including jewelry.
5. Hire an architect (my dad in our case) or use floorplanner.com to document each floor layout along with precise wall/ceiling measurements, each outlet, light switch, crown molding, other trim, type of flooring, any unique items to structure of property. (MacMedics Pro Tip: When you rebuild the insurance company will try to pay the lowest amount by building things as basic as possible. By having a detailed floor plan with engineering plans along with pictures of each wall, you can force them to build it the way it was!)
6. Put phones in a consistent place each night (MacMedics Pro Tip: iPhone is right there 24/7!)
7. Get fire ladders for any second floor bedrooms.
8. Scan each photo and receipt, again keeping them offsite, or on an online data backup service.
9. Do not be frugal with homeowner’s insurance. Spend the extra $50 per year for the most coverage. (MacMedics Pro Tip: Highly recommended! Buy a replacement policy rider for anything you have that is valuable. If your $3000 camera or computer system burns up, it’s going to be hard to get full amount. Insurance might pay for $500 to $1000. Also see SafeWare.com for computer insurance. If you don’t own your home, get renter’s insurance. It’s super cheap! Also, I happen to know that clothes are not fully covered in most polices. If you had to replace every single piece of clothing your family owns, that could cost $10,000 right there. Insurance will not cover that)
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Sign up for LoJack for Laptops for Mac here: http://www.macmedics.com/lojack