Insurance for your data, why is it so often overlooked?

A hard drive surrounded by flames ©Depositphotos/Klanneke
©Depositphotos/Klanneke

Data is in our lives, our smartphones, our computers, our internet services and just about anywhere and everywhere you can imagine. Yet something a lot of people do not consider is an “insurance policy” for their data. Before I continue, take a moment to note down your current thoughts on computer backups. After you have read this article, have a look back and see if your views have changed. If they have (or haven’t), leave comment and let us know.

People buy insurance for their car to cover if someone crashes into them, they buy insurance for their house in case they are burgled or something else untoward happens. Yet one thing that so many people neglect to do is invest in insurance for their data.

Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What data might you lose if your laptop or computer at home was stolen or your computer suddenly failed irrecoverably? Think photos, financial records, emails, contact information, work, data from your studies, the list really does go on.
  2. How would you feel if you accidentally deleted the folder with the photos of your children since their birth, or from your overseas holiday?
  3. What would you stand to lose if GMail, Yahoo mail or Windows Live mail service suddenly shut down or suffered irrecoverable data loss?

 

I ask these three questions because they cover three common scenarios of how someone might lose data including loss and corruption, human error, or cloud service disruption. I have always said, data loss isn’t a matter of IF, it is a matter of when.

Data loss can happen because of any one of a number of reasons including (but not limited to):

  • Hard drive failure
  • Loss of computer due to malicious causes (such as computer being stolen)
  • Human error (accidentally deleting files)
  • Virus or other malicious software
  • Power failure causing data corruption
  • Natural disasters such as lightening (power spikes), flooding, extreme heat and so on

 

So with all these factors in consideration, why are data insurance and home backups still overlooked and seen as an optional extra rather than a critical necessity. Businesses put backups in place often due to legal requirements as strict minimum, as Well as the fact that is just good practice, however no such legal requirements exist for the home user.

With services such as Backupify.com who can backup an increasing number of cloud data services, and Crashplan.com which covers the data on your local computer, insuring your data has never been easier or cheaper (you can check out my review of Crashpan Family Unlimited for the full rundown there). For those that wish to look for a one off payment solution even something as simple as an external hard drive at home is still better than nothing to ensure you have at least some of the bases covered. For the cost of a couple of coffees a month you can backup your online and offline life and start protecting all the data you have ever put together.

I can say that in my life I have suffered four major data loss events at home, three were due to hardware failure and one due to human error. It wasn’t until the last event of human error that I had a huge hole in my data backup regimes. Covering against myself deleting a file and then not realising until six months later. Having a backup strategy and testing the backup strategy is one of the best things you can do and at some point you will be thanking yourself for taking the time and and a small amount of effort to invest in insurance for YOUR data.

So, now to discuss… Do you back up your data? If you don’t backup, what is it that stops you, is it because it is too hard, lack of knowledge about how to back up, or is it that it is too expensive? I ask in the hope that I can write up some articles on how to overcome these obstacles. If I can convince one person that reads this article to put in a backup strategy, I know I have helped that one person immensely, and that I have saved at least one person future pain and frustration.
Stuart

P.S. For the record even as little as a week ago I experienced data loss on a personal server I house in the United States… as I said, not a matter of IF just a matter of WHEN… you will be happy to know that yes, I had backups so we are all good 😀

What you say in the cloud… STAYS IN THE CLOUD!

Bird Tweeting on iPad into The Cloud - ©Depositphotos/arrow123
©Depositphotos/arrow123

Once you write something on the internet, anywhere on the internet, it is there for life. By this same logic, every picture, every tweet, every Facebook status update, even so far as every email we write can be considered stored in the great big void that is the internet, forever.

Many of you will know I am a big fan of social media, I use it all the time and it is entirely probable that a large portion of you met me through an avenue such as Twitter. One thing that I see so often these days, is people (and especially young people) being very careless with what they say on social media.

The pictures you see of people that suddenly go viral, the stories of people who have been fired because they vented about their boss or company on Facebook, not to mention the celebrity who posted something slightly controversial that is now in deep water. All of these things are stories that we are becoming all too familiar with.

I personally am very careful and choose what I post very specifically. Even things like retweets on Twitter, I have to stop and think, “OK that was rather funny but how could retweeting that portray me”. All these bits and bytes of data that we put up about ourselves on the internet, day in and day out, all lead to an online “persona” that can, and often does come back to bite people in the posterior when they least expect it.

With the advent of social media, cameras in smartphones, the ability for friends to tag you in photos that you never really wanted to be taken and a plethora of other factors mean that data about us is being captured at a faster rate than ever before. Something a lot of people do not think about is the consequences of putting information up about themselves that might not portray them in the best of light until it is too late.

So how do you handle your online life and youronline persona? Do you carefully monitor what you put up, say, tweet, and do online? Have you ever said or done something online that *has* come back to bite you in the bum? Let me know your thoughts below!

Look forward to hearing others thoughts.

Stuart

Addition: As though by pure luck there is just one such case on Sydney Morning Herald today regarding a Vodafone Staff Member.

When technology replaces the old – boardgames and cookbooks

Man on iPad in kitchen while cooking - ©Depositphotos/Goodluz
©Depositphotos/Goodluz

As years progress, technology including smartphones, iPads, gadgets, gizmos and a plethora of other trinkets seem to be embedding themselves in our day to day lives at an alarming rate. I for one welcome our technological overlords… wait… oh right we aren’t quite there yet.

While many of you who read my blog know my thoughts on technology and my desire to sometimes just switch off from the connected world (on *rare* occasions), you will also know that I enjoy technology to a great degree.

Being the self professed geek that I am, technology is a constant part of my daily life. However it wasn’t until recently when I gave my mother my second hand iPad 1 (after upgrading to “The New iPad”) that I saw a change that made me step back and think. “Wow, this has really changed the way we do things”.

There are two main functions that my mother uses on the iPad now that made me take this step back. The first is as a recipe book in the kitchen. Prior to handing it over, I took all my families most used recipes and put them into Paprika (a very good recipe manager for iOS and OSX). What I then realised, was that the humble recipe book which has been a part of our lives for so long was kinda dead. Sure we still have them there on a shelf but why thumb through a book when I can jump on the net and find not only a recipe, but reviews of how people found the recipe to taste, along with additional tips and tricks.

The second large change was Scrabble, which my parents love to play. The iPad has enabled them to play games of scrabble far more regularly by saving time and providing greater mobility. Not only does it do away with the board, the table space and the ritual of sitting down until the game is completed in a single sitting, it also enables the game to follow them wherever they take the iPad. The game can be picked up and stopped at any time or turns can be taken sporadically rather than requiring them to sit down to play the entire game at once.

I am not saying this is a bad thing, I am not saying that it is a good thing either. I just found it very interesting, and very eye opening, to see two such classics replaced by one device. It has certainly made me sit back and look at a lot of the other things that have changed since I was a kid, and how technology has helped (and hampered) some of the things we do day-to-day.

So what are some of the real shock moments you have had with technology. When you thought… wow I never thought I would see that replaced by a piece of tech.

Stuart