Protecting your assets

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Laptops get stolen, memory sticks seldom survive an accidental boil wash (I’m on my third), and Word can be relied upon to corrupt your magnum opus at the most inopportune moment  – consequently, it’s vital that you back up your work regularly.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t realise the importance of backing up until it’s too late.   Victims of data loss acquire a certain spectral quality and can be easily spotted.  On the bright side, there are lots of tips and tools to help you:

Campus workstations

If you’re using the Sussex network, make sure you save files to your N: drive.  If you accidentally delete them, they can be recovered through the central backup.

Your PC/Mac

If you use a memory stick to back up your work, make sure you don’t leave it in your laptop/PC.  In the event of fire/theft/other calamity, you’ll lose both.

Windows includes a backup tool which can be scheduled to run at regular intervals.  This functionality is quite well hidden in XP (see here for a good tutorial), but quite conspicuous in Windows 7.

There’s a similar tool for the Mac called Time Machine.

These tools will only back up your files to a local/external drive.  For extra security, you need an online backup system as well.

Online backups

My weapon of choice is Mozy, which gives you 2Gb of remote storage free of charge.  The client works on both Windows and Mac and runs unobtrusively in the background.  In the event of data loss, you can simply visit their website and download your files.  If there is a significant amount of data to be restored, you can request a disc to be couriered instead.  Other backup tools are available.

Another useful tool is Dropbox, an application that syncs your files online and across your computers.  As soon as you click ‘save’, your document is uploaded to the Dropbox server and available through any other device on which you’ve installed the client.  The free account includes a generous 2Gb of storage space.  Dropbox also allows you to go back in time to undo changes to files or undelete them.  Spideroak is another tool that will do the same job for you.

Whatever you decide to use, a strong backup plan will mitigate against a variety of disasters.  It’s a bit of pain getting everything set up, but it’s much easier than having to rewrite your thesis.

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One thought on “Protecting your assets

    Joel said:
    August 16, 2010 at 13:21

    Thanks for your suggestion. I already use an online backup called safecopybackup. They offer 3GB remote storage free of charge. To me it’s cheaper than Mozy. I love it.

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