It’s happened to me twice now. That oh so sickening feeling I get when I go to open up a file, and either half of it’s gone, or I get an error message telling me it’s missing off my hard drive altogether. Computers are mysterious creatures. I jokingly tell people they’re all black magic and voodoo, and sometimes I wonder if there could actually be some truth to this. Both times this happened was after I had saved the files and shut down my computer properly, which proves that files can still be lost or hopelessly corrupted, even when you’ve done nothing wrong. This is why I have off site storage, and why I so highly recommend having it to others, whether or not you’re a writer.
Off site storage, sometimes called, the cloud, is just that. Your files are backed up to a third party server, and, heaven forbid, your computer gets lost or stolen, or an important file gets lost or damaged, you can easily download a backup. Some people may worry about privacy, and that’s a legitimate concern. However, any reliable off site storage company will encrypt your files. You’re far more likely to lose an important document then you are to have a hacker steal your work.
I use Carbonite, but there are other off site back up services available, such as iCloud. It costs me a little over $50 per year, and it’s money well spent. It automatically backs up my files, and whenever I’ve had to use it I found it was very easy to locate and download the needed files. The first time I used it was to recover a Word file, and I got all but the last two paragraphs back. More recently, I had to recover an Adobe InDesign file that mysteriously disappeared off my hard drive, and Carbonite downloaded it completely intact. The only problem I have with Carbonite is that it’s unable to back up my external hard drive as I’m on a Mac. This means I cannot store archived files on my external disk, but I’m otherwise a very satisfied customer.
Some people tell me they don’t need off site storage as they back up their files to a flash drive. That works as long as you remember to do it on a daily basis. And, Murphy’s Laws being what they are, rest assured the day a file corrupts or disappears completely will be the same day you didn’t do a back up.
Stuff happens, and it can happen to you. Carbonite has saved my rear-end not once, but twice, and I’m now a customer for life.