Friday, August 1, 2008

Today Is Data Backup Day!

Backup, Backup, Backup and Test Restores: a computer server destroyed in a fire on November 27, 2005. Photograph. Digital image. In the public domain via WikiMedia Commons accessed by Thomas MacEntee on May 1, 2008.

Okay folks, this is serious stuff here. Have you ever thought of what would happen if you lost all your research data? And I don't just mean your genealogy database on your computer - what about digital files, scanned photos, etc.? For that matter, what about hard copies of files and photos? What have you done to secure these items and, more importantly when was the last time you did it?

On the Google Calendar for Genea-Bloggers as well as in the Events section of Genea-Bloggers on Facebook, I've scheduled the first day of each month as Data Backup day. So what does this mean? And how can I participate?

- if you currently have a backup plan in place, when was the last time you backed up data? If you don't have a regular schedule, why not make the first of each month a date to take 30 minutes to backup your data?

- if you don't have a backup plan in place, consider putting one together. Think of scenarios such as theft of a computer, a hard drive failure, data corruption, a fire or flood and what you need to do to ensure that you will always have that data available.

- for computer data, consider purchasing an external hard drive. The prices have come down considerably even in the past few months - shop around at Amazon or even Costco (right now has a 500GB external drive priced at $99.00 with shipping included - and you don't have to be a Costco member to use their website!). My external hard drive is 250GB and is small enough to store in a safe or firebox and I can grab it as I run out the door during an emergency.

- also consider using a third-party data backup site but realize you will spend time uploading data which can be slow. And rememeber there are free photo hosting sites such as Picasa and Flickr to store digital copies of your scanned photos.

- think about all those hard files and photos you have in boxes. Can you store them in sealed plastic bags or tubs to protect against water? Have you scanned all your documents and photos? Look at Denise Olson's great post yesterday over at Family Matters called Scanning Nirvana - you'd me amazed at what types of scanning technologies are available today!

Resolve to do this today - don't let your data backup plan be one that is created as a reaction to a data loss disaster. Now is the time to be proactive!

1 comment:

RootsReading said...

Hey Thomas!

Actually, last night I had a dream that for whatever reason (I'm thinking there was a fire?), I had to quickly exit my apartment but could only bring a few things. I can't remember all that I picked up, but I do recall running around looking for all of my genealogy stuff.

I was in panic mode because, one, something (I'm really thinking it was a fire) was threatening my existance, and two, I couldn't find my genealogy stuff!

I finally remembered where I placed my stash: in a bookshelf in a paper folder.

Perhaps not the best exit plan.

This got me to thinking (in waking life): I need to come up with one. So today, I had a discussion about it with my mom and will start to make copies of documents and such for her to keep at her house. I have some other things and mind, just still working on it.

Thanks for the post! And what a great idea to have a day set each month to back up your work!