One of the most disheartening events that can hit a modern, technologically savvy law office (or home, for that matter) is the computer crash. Whether it happens to your hard drive, your mother board, or some other component doesn’t make any difference — it’s still a disaster.
Other disasters – fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados – can happen anywhere and can cripple businesses in an instant, as we all know too well from recent events across the country. And natural disaster can mean data disaster. In fact, FEMA has stated that for 40 to 60 percent of small businesses a data disaster can mean company failure.
Of course, you can protect yourself — you just have to maintain a backup of all of your important files. You undoubtedly keep all of your program install disks, and copies on your hard drive of your downloaded application install files, right? So although it will take time to install them on a new computer (and surely you have all of the product keys and registration codes from your original purchase somewhere), the real problem is recovering all of those files you created with the programs — your “data” files.
If you’ve followed the oft-repeated advice to make frequent backups (and maintain them on a CD or DVD stored off-site instead of on your hard drive), then you just have to copy them to your new computer or replacement hard drive, and you’re all set!!
But what if you were a little lazy and didn’t back things up daily? Or kept the backup on the hard drive which has now crashed (with both the data files and the backup data files). Well, that makes things a lot more difficult.
The best solution I’ve come across (since I lack the self-discipline to make daily backups) is a service called Carbonite, an online backup service.
An online backup service keeps copies of your important computer files in a secure data storage facility, keeping them safe from fire, theft, or hard drive crash.
Think of it as a long-distance backup drive, connected to your computer via the Internet. It’s not complicated. Just download and set up the Carbonite software, make sure your computer’s connected to the Internet, and you’re all set.
You’ll barely notice it’s working as it backs up new and recently changed files. If the unthinkable should happen (as it recently did to me), Carbonite will restore your files (allowing you to go ahead and use the new computer or hard drive to get your work out), even allowing you to designate which files should be restored first. It works 24/7, so you don’t have to remember to backup your files, and it will restore lost or damaged files while you sleep.
Since its founding in 2005, Carbonite has backed up more than 100 billion files (and has restored more than 7 billion).
You can get a free 15 day trial of the program before you decide if you want to use it, but I feel sure you’ll want the peace of mind it provides. There’s a very reasonable annual subscription price (with two and three year plans available). Check it out (and no, I don’t get a commission, but I love it when I find something that makes life easier).