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Malware cont. - Backups!

I never wanted to be a physician.  It is definitely a special calling on one’s life to be able to do what they do.  I had occasion last week to visit a friend in the hospital.  He had a brain aneurism.  He will be fine and is on the road to recovery.  However, as I sat there in the neuroscience ICU I observed someone being rushed in by EMTs on a stretcher. 

I briefly pondered how highly trained and specialized physicians would soon be applying their knowledge and skills to do all they could to save this person’s life.  At the end of that process one of them would be either relieved to share great news with loved ones, or they would share the heartbreaking news that, despite their best efforts, the patient died.  The latter category of conversations must be rough for physicians.  For that reason alone I would not want to be a physician.

Increasingly, I find myself in similar situations, albeit without life-altering consequences on the line.  When someone is on the receiving end of a pernicious malware infection (e.g. Cryptolocker), or even when their hard drive has failed because a small child knocked the running laptop off the table, despite my best efforts I may be unable to recover their files, including all of the baby photos of said child.  In those moments I feel terrible that I was unable to save their data.  The only remaining question I can ask is when they last backed up their files.  Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer is that they have never backed up their data.  Those are especially tough work days for me. 

Friend, please do yourself a favor and back up your files.  I realize it is another task on an already busy task list for you.  External hard drive manufacturers have made it easy to do this for years.  Operating system programmers Microsoft and Apple have made it even easier to perform some level of backups on your existing hard drive.  But if your primary hard drive that contains your data and the backups fails, then you are in a world of hurt.

With the advent of the cloud and third party companies like Carbonite leveraging widely available high-speed internet access and the cloud, they make it effortless to continuously back up your precious and often irreplaceable information.  Yes, cloud-based services cost a monthly subscription, but if you are not disciplined enough to make these backups yourself, then the price may be worth it to you.  If your precious files are <2.5 GB in size, then even Dropbox could work for you.

If you are wary of having all of your information copied to the cloud for others to possibly comb through, then you really need to come up with a backup plan.  If you have a desktop computer, you can install a second drive and set Windows to automatically back up your data on a regular interval.  The same goes for Macs.  Laptops will most often require an external hard drive.  If you have a tablet, then you’re most likely already dealing with the cloud.  Think of this as an insurance policy.  No, there is no legislation saying you need computer data insurance, but it is wise for you to have it. 

Perhaps one day soon I will be coming to you to break the bad news to you that I cannot recover your files.  You will have the distinct pleasure of informing me that it is alright because you backed up your files right before the computer crashed.  You will have just made my day and saved yourself the grief of loss.  That will be a good work day!