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Back Up or Lose It All


Today’s topic comes from QSFer Fletcher DeLancey: “How do you back up your writing? Have you ever had a catastrophic failure, and if so, how did you recover?”

We did once. Mark and I run several online directories for the LGBT community, and back in the early days, we backed up to Zip Drives – do you remember those? They were like floppy discs, but fatter. They held HUGE amounts of data – like 500 MB or maybe a Gig! LOL…

Well, at one point, Mark’s hard drive crashed. And for some reason, the back-up had failed on one of the two Zip discs we used. So we lost all of his Quicken info. We had to go back through our paper files (thank God for those!) and pull every invoice and bill, and he had to re-enter all of them manually. It was Hell.

So we improved our back-up methods.

Then one year, our server failed – the place where all our websites lived. Once again, it turned out that the back-up had failed also. We had a copy of the websites, but all the back-end stuff that made them work was gone, and our most recent copy was more than a year old. With the help of the programmer who helped us set up our original site, we were able to get back up and running, partially, after 3-4 days. But it was a month until most things were functional again, and much longer before it was all behind us. And that little misadventure cost almost $4k.

Now we have taken a much more pro-active role. We have a local Mac “Time Machine” that backs up all the time. We also have two small 2TB hard drives that we use on a regular basis – one is at the bank safe deposit box and one is here at any given time in case something happens to the house. We have an online, offsite back-up with Crash Plan, too, in case a meteor takes out El Dorado Hills while we’re away from home.

For our server, we have a back-up with our ISP, but we also back it up daily to one of our own computers at home, and that goes into our home back-up system as well. And we check our ISP back-up on a regular basis.

I know, it’s a bit extreme, but past experience has taught us that redundancy is king when it comes to back-ups.

So how about you? What’s your back-up strategy to protect your most valuable asset – your writing?

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