Do You Have a Safety Net for All Your Digital Content?

It’s not a good feeling when you turn on your laptop and see only a blinking cursor on a black screen. Luckily my warranty had 4 weeks left. (Thanks, Bob, for recommending that additional 3 year warranty.) Once I’d done my time on the phone with HP tech support, the process for shipping, repair, and return was very efficient. Since my laptop came back with a new hard drive and optical drive, I had lots of software installing and file copying to do. I am sooo thankful that I had a backup, a safety net for my laptop. What was an inconvenience could have been a tragedy.

Local to Local

I use SyncBackSE to back up my computers daily to external hard drives. I need a backup tool that automates the process and does the job frequently without me having to do anything. I backup my libraries where I store all my files (documents, videos, pictures, music). I also backup the files on my Desktop and in my Dropbox folder. It is well worth the one time $35 cost to be able to use this software on 5 of my computers. Our staff members have their My Documents/Libraries set to their building’s server by default. So they could easily back up their documents by copying them to the hard drive of their stations, no external hard drive required.

Local to Cloud

For those files that are vital (pictures, tax records, financial records, etc.), I also backup to the cloud. If something were to happen to our house, I might lose both the computer and the external hard drive backup.

  • Pictures: I use Flickr. This process is not automated, but I’m pretty good about uploading pictures after moving them from the card in the camera to my computer, because I’m also sharing them with family and friends.
  • Videos: I upload my video files to Vimeo. This process is not automated either. But again, this is how I share with friends and family, giving me two reasons to get this task completed.
  • Life Records: All those papers that I used to keep in files and archive into big plastic envelopes each year (taxes, insurance, receipts, bills, etc.), as well as various documentation for work, I now scan and store in Evernote. Evernote syncs to the cloud automatically.

Cloud to Local

What about those files that are stored online from the start like your blog posts, bookmarks, Google Docs files, and online courses? I must confess that I am not as vigilant about backing up these files.

  • Google Docs: I pretty much live in Google. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Tasks are the 4 tabs that open when my  browser starts. So a few weeks ago when my Google Docs account was not available, it could have slowed my work flow. Since I’m using Backupify, I was able to access backups of my Google Docs files. I can download a document from Backupify, and open it in the corresponding Office software. I use this service to once a day backup my Google contacts, calendar, documents, and email. Backupify offers a free subscription and some paid subscriptions. My Tasks in Google is something that is not backed up. Maybe that would be a blessing in disguise.
  • Moodle: Once I’ve finished a course in Moodle, I create a backup that is stored on the Moodle server, and I also copy this file to my computer, into my library, so that it is backed up to the external hard drive. I did recently forget to backup a course and regretted it. My course was hacked and vandalized. I’m still working on fixing that. To back up a course in Moodle, go to the Administration block in that course and click Backup. Click the Continue button at the bottom of each page until you get to the screen that shows your backup file. You can save that zip file to your local station with a right click.

  • Diigo: I would like to say that once a month I export my data from Diigo to create a backup on my station, which I save in m documents so that it is backed up on the external hard drive. But that doesn’t always happen. If something happens to Diigo I want to be able to import my bookmarks into the next big bookmarking tool, not that I think this is going to happen. In the Backing Up Diigo blog post by Doug, he explains how he automatically backs up his bookmarks into Evernote. This would be helpful if Diigo went down and I couldn’t access my stuff, but I don’t think I could use that to import my bookmarks to another service if needed. Still….might be a good thing to do.
  • WordPress.com: I haven’t done anything about backing up my blog posts, but feel like I should. I can export by posts and comments, (pages and links not included) to my local documents folder.

As you can see it takes several safety nets to cover all my digital content. What safety  nets do you have in place?

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One thought on “Do You Have a Safety Net for All Your Digital Content?

  1. Scott’s comment: “It would probably be a good idea to mention that any backups to or from the cloud should be done outside of school hours, due to the amount of bandwidth used by copying files to the Internet…”

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