Digital Backup: No More Excuses

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune discussed how the Obama Presidential Library would be used for forums, workshops, and programs. “Where’s the papers?” one reasonably asks? Well, the papers will be online, because everything (almost) is digital.

If you don’t have a digital backup plan in place for your business and personal papers (digital records) then you might be tempting the universe to break your computer, and I hope you don’t live in an area prone to natural disasters. If you’ve never implemented a digital backup plan for your digital records it can be overwhelming to vet an appropriate system, determine how much digital storage space you need, create a digital infrastructure for your digital file system, and set an appropriate backup mechanism. But don’t worry – I’m here to help. First, you need to choose a system, and I have two recommendations for you that can scale to your needs and are easy to implement: Google Drive and Dropbox. (No, I’ve not been paid to endorse them. And yes, I use them both for my business and personal records). Help on determining storage space needs, how to set up a digital infrastructure, and setting up a backup mechanism will be covered in later posts. But if you can’t wait, feel free to call or email me for help.

There are three attributes I consider “a must” when it comes to assessing a digital backup tool:

  1. Is there a free version with an option to scale up?
  2. Is there an option to automatically sync my digital records?
  3. Can I share my digital records with others?

1. Both Google Drive and Dropbox have free versions to get started with, and offer different scaling options you can grow into. Google Drive offers 15GB, with an option to buy more storage space. Dropbox will start with only 2GB, but offers more nuanced tool options (in addition to storage) for scaling up.

2. Google Drive and Dropbox both offer automatic synching and access to to your digital records across all of your devices (computer, phone, smart devices). If you’re active in creating digital records, and you could lose years of digital work and family mementos, then having an automatic synching tool is a necessity. Both tools also provide version recovery, and if you upgrade in Dropbox you have a longer window in which to use the version recovery tool. The ability to access these records on any device is a convenience, and one I heartily recommend if you’re on the go and rely on access to digital records while you’re frequently away from your computer.

3. While sharing may not be a top priority for your business or personal use, it is incredibly handy if you ever need to send a large file, collate multiple people’s input in one document, or want to share dozens of photo files from a great-Aunt’s photo collection with a large, extended family. Both Google Drive and Dropbox offer ways to share your files, and you can drill down to determine exactly what aspects of your work people can access and change.

If you’re a light, personal-use, digital record creator, then Google Drive is probably all you need. If you’re a heavy digital record creator, and like or need a nuanced approach to control tools regarding your files on a granular level, then I recommend investing in a higher-level Dropbox account – of which there are several levels.

If you have any questions on how to get started, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me questions. I provide a free 30 minute consult call, or you’re welcome to email me: consulting@rachaelcristine.com.

Rachael Cristine


Image courtesy of Andrew Parnell, via Flickr’s Creative Commons (https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewparnell/2742419882/), and follows the Creative Commons Attribution License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/. Image downloaded for use October 2017, and was not purposefully altered.

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