Emergency Plan: Have you backed up your computer?

As a freelance writer, I rely on my computer. I have far more electronic files than paper ones and I don’t know what I would do if I lost them all. My past work, my invoices, my list of sources could all disappear if my computer had any sort of problem.

There’s not really much you can do to keep your computer from breaking down, either. They’re finicky beasts and they’ll do what they want. The only real option we have is backing up our data. Burning a CD with important files on a regular basis, backing up to a spare hard drive or even printing out files guarantees that we’ll have spare copies of our work if something goes wrong.

When planning how you will back up your data, there are a number of issues to consider. I’ve made a brief list — not every issue is on here, but this list is a starting point.

  • Backing up offsite can protect your data if something happens to your home. (It is likely to be a more expensive option, though.)
  • Without regular updates, back ups can be worthless — after all, what good are last year’s records if you don’t have this year’s?
  • DVDs, CDs and disks can actually deteriorate over time. Try to avoid using them as a long-term (several years) solution. Paper records also have deterioration issues, if stored improperly.

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