November 05, 2012, 10:44 AM — Note: This article was originally published in late September 2012. However, following hurricane Sandy and increased concerns about disaster preparedness, we have decided to reprint this guide. If you have any suggestions not covered in the article, please share your ideas in a comment below.
You don't have to look hard to find tales of technological disaster. The Gauss virus infiltrated thousands of Middle Eastern PCs, where it could intercept online banking credentials. Apple iPhones were revealed to be vulnerable to spoofed SMS messages. Floods all but demolished Western Digital's hard drive production facilities in Thailand.
Closer to home, writer Mat Honan saw his digital life all but erased when a hacker used a couple of phone calls to order a remote wipe of his MacBook Air. Honan says that he lost more than a year's worth of photos after the breach--photos that, of course, he hadn't backed up.
These incidents--and to some degree, anything that goes wrong with your tech universe--have one thing in common: With careful planning, the victims could have rendered the problems much easier to recover from.
Sure, enduring a flood that wipes out your production facility is worse than losing some stored baby pictures, but disaster planning is essential for individuals and businesses of all shapes and sizes. The only real variable is the complexity of the necessary planning. For a small businesses, it's essential to plan for disasters so that you won't be completely crushed if catastrophe does strike. Here's how to start.
You can sharply reduce the bad effects of most technology problems by adopting a single surprisingly simple precaution: Back up your data.
You've undoubtedly heard this advice before, but even computer users who have suffered crashes, malware infestations, and other data-killing disasters often find it hard to get started, fearing that regularly scheduled backups are too tedious to perform or too complicated to set up.
None of this is true today. Myriad solutions and systems have simplified the task of backing up, whether you're dealing with one computer or a dozen. Here are some strategies you can start with.
Local USB backup