Andy here. I am writing this post on a borrowed computer. My main system is being restored to its factory state because a hard drive glitch (either software or hardware…not sure) rendered my computer non-functional.
I have lost at least 4 hours of productivity so far. I will have to reinstall all of my applications (no small feat…I use Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium and quite a few other programs). I may have to replace my hard drive with a new one if in fact this turns out to be a problem with the drive itself.
But I have not lost any data.
I made a backup copy of my data just a few days ago. And I was able to access my limping hard drive’s files to get all of the subsequently modified files.
So after a half day jaunt into the world of PC tech support, I will be back in business.
What about you? If something happened to your main computer or computers, would you be able to bounce back in a matter of hours? Most medium enterprises have dedicated IT personnel who are tasked with, among other things, making sure backups happen. But I dare say many — if not most — small businesses do not have any type of backup process.
What does all of this have to do with design? Not a whole lot — except for the fact that I will be able to continue offering excellent graphic design services once my system is operational again. I hope you also have a backup plan in place so that in the event of a failure, you would be able to say the same thing.
If you don’t currently have a backup plan, here is what I recommend:
For home users: Buy a large (>1TB) external hard drive and some image backup software like Acronis True Image. You can sometimes find packaged deals that include a hard drive and the software. Install the software and use it to make backups of your hard drive at least weekly.
For small businesses: Your needs are different from home users. You can tolerate less downtime. If you have fewer than five computers, you may be able to manage it yourself. If you have a more complex system, you may want to contact a company who specializes in data backup and recovery. Computer Consultants and Merchants of Greenwood, S.C. can help.
Setting up a backup plan is about as much fun as purchasing life insurance. But in the event you need it, you will be oh so glad you have it.