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March 31, 2014

It's World Backup Day. Not That YOU Care.

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by Ron Daly

Ah, that wonderful spring air. The trees are in bud, the flowers are in bloom, the weather...well, the weather hasn't made up its mind just yet. All the calendars say it's the most wondrous day of the year...yeah, you guessed it, it's World Backup Day!

But let me guess...you don't care. 

I know your take on it. "World Backup Day? Is that the day we celebrate all the great backup singers in history?" No, not at all. World Backup Day is the day we all back up our computers. Many of us only do that once a year, regrettably, but better once a year than not at all.

"Ugh, backups," you groan. "My IT department is always bugging me to do them. Who has the time?"

Yeah! I agree completely! Who has the time?! Who has the roughly 30 to 60 minutes every two weeks to plug in an external hard drive, press "back up now" and let the computer back itself up? It's madness!

If your sarcasm meter isn't in the red right now, you better get it checked. Backing up your computer, your smartphone, your tablet - whatever electronic doo-dad you might lug around with you on a daily basis - has never been easier. You can back up to a hard drive. You might even be able to back up to a thumb drive, provided it's big enough. Heck, back your important stuff up to the cloud, or to your private online storage space. It's not that difficult. You don't need a computer science degree to know how, you just need to know your computer, know where you want the files to be stored, and know how to protect them once you store them.

"ARGH, I have to know THREE THINGS?! Listen, Mr. Daly..."

Mister Daly is my father. Please, call  me Ron.

"...okay. Listen, Ron, I'm very busy and I'm not very computer savvy. Plus, I keep my computer clean and free of viruses and it's practically new. Do I really need a backup routine?"

Yes. You really need a backup routine. Just like you really need insurance. You don't get insurance because you expect to get sick or injuredYou get insurance because sometimes, you get sick or injured out of the clear blue sky. Accidents and misfortune don't always have your name written all over them; sometimes, they're marked "to whom it may concern". Those are the days you want the benefit of a safety net. 

The same is true of computers. Sometimes, you get a virus that disguised itself as the latest version of your favorite Facebook game. Sometimes, your house gets struck by lightning. Sometimes, your clumsy nephew drops an entire glass of water into your CPU. These sound like crazy one-off events, but they happen to well-meaning people every day. In a world where we keep all our precious memories, our favorite songs, and our important documents neatly on the "C:" drive, why wouldn't you take the few extra minutes every month, plug in, back up, and then store that data somewhere safe?

On any given day, the person who is responsible for data loss is you. You can prevent it, and when you can't, you can prepare for a new computer that has all your important files on it. All it takes is a regular backup routine.

"You know what, Ron? You've convinced me. I'm going to go to the World Backup Day website, take the pledge and get my life on track."

Glad I could help.

"Speaking of backup singers, though...any chance you'll be in my cover band? We mostly sing Motley Crue covers..."

No way, no how.

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