Hot Weather Means Hardware Failures.

Wednesday, 15. July 2009

With hotter temperatures, your electronics are at higher risk of failure. Are you backed up?

If you’ve been around electronics for any period of time, you know that as the weather gets hotter, equipment failure rates also climb. With the increased use of digital cameras and digital video, as well as all the other information we store on our digital devices, the failure of any electronic device could result in information loss.

Here are some quick tips that might save you from having to deal with data loss. Let’s just call them words to live by in a digital world.

Backing up your desktop computer is not enough.

It used to be that backing up the old desktop was enough to keep your data safe. This is still important to do, but should now be considered a link in your data backup chain. Let look at a imaginary person, we’ll call them Kim.

Kim has the following devices:

  • A Desktop PC
  • A Laptop
  • A Blackberry
  • Three Digital Cameras
  • Two Digital Movie Cameras

Her backup chain works as follows:

  • Her Blackberry syncs to her Desktop PC
  • Her Cameras download to her Desktop PC when at home, or her Laptop when she travels
  • She creates snapshots of her data files from both her Desktop PC and her Laptop to a removable storage device.
  • She makes sure that she has at least 5 different snapshots in time on removable storage at any given time.
  • Every month or so, she burns a long term data archive set to DVD storage and takes it to a safe place away from home for long term storage.
  • She tests her backups to make sure she can read from them.

If see does all of these things, then she has an extremely low chance of loosing her data in the event of equipment failure, or other unforeseen catastrophe.

Wow, that’s a lot of work… Isn’t there an easier way?

Depends what you consider “easier”. You can automate these tasks, but with automation comes the risk of undetected failure. The bottom line is that you need to insure that certain things get accomplished in your backup strategy.

  • You need to look at all of your devices, cell phones, PDAs, thumb drives, etc… to see what you need to backup.
  • You need to insure that you have at least two copies of all your data at all times. Saving 5 or more versions of data files allows you to go back a bit in time.
  • You need to insure that you have archive copies stored in a safe place off site from all your equipment.
  • You need to test the data that you save as well as what have stored off site to verify that in the event you need to access it, you can.

All these criteria need to be met to insure your data. How you do it is up to you.

I have a lot of gadgets, how do I know what to backup?

I often tell people to imagine what would happen if a particular electronic device would fail. What would you loose? If the answer is anything other then nothing, you need to figure out how to back it up!

— Stu


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