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The Gadget Gremlin Is Coming for Your Data

Dan received the CompTIA IT Operations Specialist (cert.) in 2010 and worked in the computer repair/networking industry for several years.


Data loss can happen to regular people and businesses alike. Regardless of the cause, it occurs because of unpreparedness.

That elusive creature — breakdown, theft, vandalism, fire or flooding — causes data loss. Projects, endeavors, and business production can halt when data disappears. For ensuring continuity, there should be a plan for what to do in the above circumstances.

Your Escape

Don't fear the critter while a fine getaway car is in your grasp. No, I'm not talking about Gizmo's pink Barbie Corvette:

  • The most used data storage medium is probably the thumb drive or SD card. They are inexpensive and easy to carry around. The same technology resides in each of them; the only difference being physical shape. After creating or obtaining files/data, copy them to the drives as soon as possible. There, all done . . . When your computer breaks, data is preserved. Just don't lose the backup drives!
  • External hard drives may be used in the method above. Because of their size, however, they're not as easy to carry around. Your budget and needs should determine which is better suited.
  • Micro SD cards may be inserted into smartphones and tablets — if slots are available — and data can be copied from built-in storage to the removable cards. Just be sure to copy the data on a regular schedule — the process is similar to the copy & paste function of an average desktop/laptop computer. If the device breaks, simply remove the card and your data is recovered.
  • A fading method of data backup is using optical media such as CDs, DVDs and Blue-ray discs. The process is generally not user-friendly. It requires a reliable disc burner, quality optical media, a maintained computer and familiarity with the burn program. Ug! If any of the four conditions are not met, the burning process can fail in the middle of a session. And be sure not to bump the desk while in the middle of a session! It might cause the drive laser to miss points where data is to be written.
  • Increasingly common is the use of internet cloud storage. Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and DropBox are commonly used. They allow the upload and storage of all manner of file types — typed documents, pictures and music are examples. Depending on the setup, an automatic upload option can be used — performing backup manually, requires discipline and can be tedious. Alternatively, some folks use email as a form of cloud storage; for data/files that are relatively small in size, send them to your own email address as an attachment.
  • Acquiring assistance is common — such as when IT services are obtained. The services are generally multi-tiered/priced and provide data preservation. It's mostly businesses that take advantage of the services. Ideally, owners and managers should focus on productivity and profit, not being preoccupied with gadget management; data preservation can be stressful even when there's know-how. Searching the internet for computer MSPs or managed service providers will yield this category of service.
  • Onsite backup servers are worth a mention and generally pertain to businesses. In this configuration, data from all the devices on site is manually or automatically copied to the server on a schedule. IT services can assist with the installation of the server and/or manage it. If using a backup server on site, keep in mind that the risk of data loss from onsite disasters/mishaps is higher; the concept is true for any type of backup method. For protection against such mishaps, store copies of data off-site or in a pocket — media can be rotated out of the server to an off-site location.

Don't Use the Short Cut!

In order to save money, some people go without data preservation services or assistance. If the budget allows for it, use a service. Computer-use continuity is more of a sure thing this way.

Businesses, without a doubt, should use a service. As said, it makes production generally more efficient.

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You're Safe Now

Sigh of relief . . . You've gotten away from those infamous food-munching critters that multiply with water. No more worries about what'll happen if your phone breaks . . .

Remember the options though, and do something. Complacency is the root cause of most computer catastrophes.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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