Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Why Backup Online?

Many people backup in one way or another.  Some people on a regular basis create a CD or DVD of their important files, some people have a NAS drive stored away in a cupboard or in the garage and others save their files on multiple computers.  There are many ways for the home user to back up.

In recent times, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to send your certificates to you online, or to stop all of your paper bills from the utilities companies coming to you through the paper post.  These are some of the important files people keep on the their home computer.

In addition, people download all their photos of weddings, children and events to their computer for "safe" keeping, as the memory card from the camera might get lost, stolen or damaged.  I know that I lost a memory card full of 200 photos from a family trip to Euro Disney and was devastated that it corrupt, within the camera itself.

With the use of media at home, people can now download music through the big resellers as well as videos.  It might be a surprise over time, that some people have approximately 100 music albums stored on their computer, which probably cost in excess of £500.

At the end of the day, because people cannot see the media and files stored on the computer and cannot touch them, they seem to take a back seat when thinking about security and safety.

Ignoring the fact that there are bad people in the world creating viruses, ignoring that computer disks fail or corrupt, the following are reasons to make sure you backup your files.

1.  Natural disaster - In recent weeks in the UK, we have experienced our wettest summer since records began.  Many thousands of properties have been flooded, caused millions of pounds of damage.  If people have a computer, the chances are that they are placed on the floor and not on a desk.  Imagine if your house was under 4 foot of water.  Would your computer be safe?

2.  House fire - Imagine the worst scenario possible.  You come home from work to find your house smouldering from a domestic fire.  Inside all of your possessions have been lost, never to be seen again.  Awful.  But, once you go to the insurance company and try to find out details of insurance, your possessions, bills, utility companies etc... where is the information?  Burned within your computer.

3.  Power surge - This is quite rare in recent times, but if there is adverse weather, we can experience a power surge from time to time.  If a computer is switched on and a power surge happens, the disk drive inside can become corrupt, or worse it would be rendered completely unreadable.

4.  Loss / Theft - A situation where you have your laptop stolen, or your house burgled, is a sad event.  Imagine you have your photos, documents and other media on the computer and all of your data is lost.  You will never get this back and will have lost many hours of work, precious photos and your film collection.

5.  Children - If, like me, you have children, they tend to play on the computer.  Mine will search the internet, play games, use powerpoint and paint to draw pictures, or even complete their homework.  I used to try to tell the teacher that my dog ate my homework, but what would they say?  Children tend to eat and drink by the computer.  Imagine that a glass of orange juice goes all over the laptop, into the keyboard and through to the workings of your laptop.  No more data.

All of these scenarios above point to computers at home, usually positioned on the floor, or a laptop, where it is susceptible to damaged and more importantly data loss.

I looked for a solution to this problem and came across an online backup solution to take all of these worries away.  I found a very good solution and have become a reseller myself.  Take a look at for a solution to backup an unlimited amount of data over an unlimited amount of machines.  For an extra cost, you can backup a NAS and even create a shared, secure, drive for all of your machines to stay synchronized.

Take a look.  Be safe.  Backup online.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Self Development

As a mentor, I have often discussed with my team the fact that self development is important. I believe that every individual should take 30 minutes out of their working day to self learn. This would include reading relevant articles on the web, reading news sites and even technical manuals.

30 minutes adds up to 2.5 hour per working week. This amount of time is small enough to not make an impact to your working productivity. However, the golden rule is that if you do not take 30 minutes today, you cannot take 1 hour tomorrow. If you miss a 30 minute time slot in one day, you cannot ever make it up, as this could impact your productivity.

Further to this, I also believe in education. People may be an expert in a particular area, but in the current world, progression never stops. If you were an expert in Exchange 2007, well you are now out of date as Exchange 2010 is the latest version, with Exchange 2015 just around the corner.

It is up to each individual to learn and continuously learn and keep up, especially in the IT world. As a Lotus Notes developer I would make sure that I took at least one exam a year. I think in total, I have taken more than 10 exams related to Lotus over the years. Since moving from my technical background into the Project Management arena, I have already taken 3 exams and am now studying for the next.

I feel it is important to learn from a broad range of sources, including books, blogs and related websites. 30 minutes a day is not too much to ask and it pays dividends in your knowledge and overall breadth of knowledge in your chosen area.

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