On November 12, 2012, my home was broken into and robbed. I lost jewelry, some vintage tech (my beloved 1993 Mac Duo 230 laptop), and, more importantly, my netbook that I use for all my personal computing.
I have learned a lot of lessons from that experience.
First, I am very glad that I have a pass word app on my cellphone that has a record of all my logins and passwords. My laptop was password protected of course, but not encrypted. Because I love the convenience of saved passwords in my browser, I had to immediately change all of my login passwords. Because a file on my laptop had the ability to connect to online accounts, I needed to immediately contact financial institutions. I also called in a Fraud Alert to a credit service with which I already had an account.
I had the serial number and receipt for my current laptop, but not for my vintage laptop. Record serials numbers and scan receipts and keep them somewhere that is NOT your laptop.
I back my data up onto a network attached storage device, so I am good with that (although I hadn’t done a full backup in 2 months so I lost a few files). But when I needed to access those files before I replaced my laptop, I didn’t have a machine in the house that could access it. So, I also need to additionally get myself an external drive that is more easily portable with a USB connection that I can hook up to any machine, anywhere. And, of course, they could have taken my NAS, too, and I would have been out of luck. Except for my pre-2008 files which I also have on CD-ROMs because that’s how I migrated them then.
I do have copies of some things in the cloud, like photos. And my recent email. But not my full email archive, which is on my NAS, but requires an application that I cannot install on my temporary machine because it’s not supported on that OS.
And I could not get my temporary machine to recognize my wireless printer. How many documents you need to print is not something you think about when planning for an emergency.
So…what lessons did I learn?
- Keep an encrypted file of logins and passwords (and account numbers) on some other type of device altogether. But also print out a copy somewhere in case of a more dire emergency.
- Have _two_ local copies of your files, one of which is easily portable to another location and other type of hardware in an emergency. And an additional cloud copy is not a bad idea (but it’s a bad idea for that to be your only copy).
- Of course retain data that runs only in specific applications, but try to export/create copies that are application neutral.
- Scan printed receipts and key documents. Print vital e-only documents. Keep your print copies and your e-versions someplace secure, and keep the e-versions in more than one place.
What advice do others have about recovering from sudden data loss?
Fixed typos, 2/14/2013