Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Going Online to Save Data Safely

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Going Online to Save Data Safely

Article excerpt

I'm a compulsive saver. I save backup copies of all important computer documents I'm working on, and backups of my backups.

As I'm working, I frequently hit the Ctrl-S keys to save my current document to the hard disk. Somewhat less frequently, I periodically save a backup copy to a floppy disk, provided the file is small enough to fit on it, which it usually is. Somewhat less frequently, I periodically save a copy through the Internet to an offsite backup disk. And somewhat less frequently than this, I make a complete backup of all the documents on the hard drive of my primary work computer to a writable DVD disc.

I've never lost a document, despite making the not-so-uncommon but no-less-brain-dead mistakes of accidentally deleting an important I file or destroying a current, nearly complete version of a file by overwriting it with a preliminary, incomplete version. I've also suffered one major data-destroying hard disk crash.

Another time I was a victim of a natural near-disaster. My wife and I were barbecuing out back when it started to rain, so we moved inside the back porch. I then heard thunder and nervously checked the computer in my office. I was working on a book and didn't want to lose anything. Everything checked out. Then ... BOOM! The bomb-like noise was accompanied by a small, momentary fireball on the ground maybe a 100 feet from where we were sitting. Lightning strike.

Even more nervously this time, I checked the computer again. Dead. An enormous surge of electricity had blown right past my surge protector and fried the PC. But my data was still alive, saved by a backup.

Fortunately, I've never been victim to the kinds of horrendous natural disasters that have been much in the news over recent months. Hurricanes can destroy not only your computer, but also any backup hard disks, optical discs, tapes, Zip disks, Jazz disks, or floppies that you've dutifully made. This applies equally to tornadoes, fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, avalanches, tidal waves and meteor strikes. Despite the improbabilities, catastrophes do happen.

All this underscores the importance of offsite storage. These days as a result of the Internet, saving important data offsite is easier than ever, with various options available.

One viable free option for home and small office users is to save documents to the Web space that your Internet service provider offers, depending on how much space it gives you. …

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