On Attempting to Stay Wired In

May 8, 2013

You know those days/weeks where live gets away from you, and you have no idea what day of the week it is, and have to consult the calendar on your phone to know what day it was? Yeah, that just happened to me. We’re all living our lives a bit more through technology these days, and for the most part this shift has occurred for the sake of convenience and simplicity. Businesses are able to run more smoothly, students lead easier lives, and general communication has never been simpler. However, there are also negative consequences of relying more heavily on technology, and one is that we tend to make careless mistakes simply because we aren’t prepared for certain mishaps.

A perfect example of the kind of issue that many people don’t prepare for until too late is losing important documents. Computers and other technology makes our work so easy to organize and store that many of us take for granted that our files and documents will be there when we need them. However, in the event that a computer is damaged, lost or stolen, or even if a program error causes a document to be accidentally deleted, we can experience major problems. Fortunately, such problems are easy to prevent. Here are four ways to make sure you never lose important documents again.

1. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage can still be labeled as an emerging technology, but the fact remains that it’s probably the single best means of file backup in existence. Cloud providers like ShareFile give you the ability to save important documents not to a computer, tablet, or other device, but to your own “cloud” online. Because the cloud can be accessed from any device, so long as it can connect to the Internet, your files will be safely waiting for you in the event that your computer or other device becomes damaged or lost.

2. Email

If you’re looking for a simpler means of backup for the occasional file, you can simply email it to yourself. This method sort of mimics cloud storage in that you will be able to access the file simply by logging into your email account from any device. This isn’t the best idea for a high volume of important documents, simply because organization can become difficult, but it certainly works. Think Google Drive and Gmail here.

3. USB Storage

Perhaps the most common form of file backup still, USB drives are simple and convenient. You can simply store documents and entire folders on a USB device small enough to fit on your keychain. The disadvantage, of course, is that these devices can be lost. But, if you’re using it primarily for backup, a USB is a very handy solution.

4. External Hard Drive

Finally, if you need a larger source for backup storage but don’t want to rely on online tools such as email or cloud storage, an external hard drive is probably the way to go. These hard drives can store massive amounts of data, and can plug into any compatible computer for access, meaning that they can essentially hold your files securely until you need them. Many people also use these hard drives simply for extra storage.

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  • Matt Becker May 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Interesting. I hadn’t heard of ShareFile before but I’ll have to look into them. I’m using Google Drive for most of our financial documents and the like. Where I’ve had trouble is trying to figure out where to store pictures and videos (we’ve taken a TON since our son was born). Our laptops don’t have enough storage, so I’m thinking we’ll get an external hard drive and link it to something like carbonite.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      I have an external and Dropbox for pics.

  • Darnell Jackson May 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Good topic it’s spring time so it’s a good time to back up stuff.

    I recommend USB but makes sure you BACK up your BACKUPS because they tend to stop working spontaneously for some reason sometimes.

    The cloud?

    I wouldn’t trust it for 1 primary reason.
    No one knows who the administrators are and they have access to your data you can better believe it.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      I get where you’re coming from. I make sure I download everything important to 2 different places.

  • Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey May 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I have an external hard drive where I store my collection of photos, music, and movies while I use USB for my articles and important documents that I will need anytime of the day. For online storage, I still prefer to use Google Drive.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Interesting. I like dropbox slightly better because its a folder on my desktop.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I always advocate backups, no matter how you do it. I am very aware of ShareFile as they do business where I live and a few of my co-workers when to work for them. They have a good product and it works well.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Glad to hear that!

  • Budget & the Beach May 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Oh man I feel like I have stuff spread out all over the place. Sometimes I miss the days of paper and sometimes I do love technology. I can’t wait though till I don’t have to deal with hard drives anymore!

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      I still rely on my moleskin more than anything else 😉

  • Pauline May 9, 2013 at 2:44 am

    I have an external hard drive but am worried it could stop working some day. The cloud technology sounds very interested to prevent data loss from happening. Need to look more into it.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      It worth researching- even if its just a back up of your backups.

  • Tomasz Gorski May 9, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Great points Marissa! Though I personally prefer email as an online tool and USB Drive among the other storage devices, the other ones, that you have mentioned, are equally useful. Will definitely try out cloud storage.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      What do you mean by email tool?

  • Elle @ ForHerByHer May 9, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I’m incredibly paranoid about losing my files. I love the idea of cloud storage, but have been in situations where I desperately need a file and don’t have access to the internet … that still happens believe it or not 🙂
    USBs and external drives have been my answer so far.

    Like Darnell said – “back up your backups”. I often backup on several USBs and External Drives… I’m THAT paranoid.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      My fear is having too many USB drives 😉

  • Ryan @ RLD Investments May 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I like to use DropBox. There are a lot of good ones out there, they just happen to be the one that I started with. Either way, I tend to like to use the cloud vs the external hard drive just because of reliability. That’s only for my personal stuff though. For work related items I prefer both options due the extra importance of the security.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      I’m a fan of dropbox, too.

  • Tomasz Gorski May 10, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Thanks for approving my comment. Would like to see such great posts from you again in future. 🙂

  • Alice Lee May 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I am so reliant on my gmail, g-calendar, google drive.. I can’t even remember a dinner with friends and I have to put it in my calendar. I don’t really use USBs or external drives though. The fact that you have to carry them around itself is too much for a forgetful person like me.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      I’m like that too! Sad, isn’t it?

  • Irfan May 13, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for these great tips, wish i had read this a year back. Yes, the unfortunate happened to me, when my hard disk of my Laptop crashed last year and all my important stuff was lost in just a moment, it was devastating but that incident made me to buy a external hard disk, in which i keep all my important documents.

    • Marissa May 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      Oh no! That really sucks!

  • Felix Lee May 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I have been using dropbox to save my important files and to be able to retrieve it any time. And I am satisfied with it so far.

  • Shaun Hoobler May 23, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Hello there Marissa. Just thought I’d drop you a comment on this post (seemed as good as any) to say that I’ve read some of your posts and I’m liking the blog! Expect to see a few more comments from me! 😉