They say that there are two constants in life, death and taxes. The premise is we will always have to pay taxes and, well there’s no sugarcoating this, we will all die. I’d like to propose a third; for now I’ll call it “iFAT”. Nope, it’s not some new type of “File Allocation Table”, or Apple’s long awaited entry to the fitness and diet arena. I’m talking about the bulging amount of electronic data we are all producing and amassing. The concept is simple; we will create or collect electronic data (photos, documents, web transactions, videos, music, …) almost every day of our lives and as a result our data storage needs will continue to grow. Deciding what data to backup and when is thus very important and something that needs to be revisited regularly.
Whether protecting personal or business data I encourage my friends and family to ask themselves “what data is irreplaceable?”. This data is the foundation of your backup; the minimum amount you should be protecting. Beyond this you will also want to protect valuable music collections, data that would be time consuming to recreate, wills, financial records, and business critical data. You will also want to update your backup plan whenever you add new computer systems, or have other life events (weddings, children, house moves, business expansions etc). Consider too which data to backup locally and which data to backup online.
For additional reading, the folks over at MediaSmart Home had a great series this summer on protecting your digital life: 4 Steps to Protecting Your Digital Life