Using Technology Wisely: Updates and Backups

You receive alerts all the time urging you to install software updates for the equipment and software that you use. Sometimes you do so, frequently you do not.

The manufacturers and disseminators of such alerts maintain, often rightly so, that regular updates are vital since the people who spread viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, and malware in general are at work around the clock.

Updates Matter

Ron Wagner, a former pilot with Eastern Airlines who later became successful as in designing software manuals and training books, says that the crucial patches dispensed by vendors help to protect your desktop PC, laptop, phone, and other gadgets. They are not offered arbitrarily. They come as a result of known security breaches, bugs detected, and issues that make updates essential.

So, the time to update your personal technology is when you receive vendor alerts along with accompanying links and instructions. Periodically, such updates also include new features and enhanced compatibility for whatever else the vendor offers.

As you likely have witnessed, smart devices such as smartphones generally take care of themselves. Their updates are automatic. You are not required to do anything. Still, it’s wise to keep abreast with the developments related to each of your apps.

Back up Your Computer Files

You only need to experience one major setback to acknowledge the value of constantly backing up your critical data.

If your hard drive has ever been fried, if your unit simply went kaput and is no longer operable, or if you spilled coffee on it, that destroyed some or all of your data. You know what I’m talking about!

AllBusiness.com contends that backing up what you’re working on during the day, certainly at the end of the day, makes perfect sense. Twice a day and three times a day is not overdoing it.

Another Week, Another Backup

It’s not out of the question to run a complete system backup once a week. Most businesses have established procedures for doing so.

If you work at home on your own computer, even on personal items, the once a week routine is still recommended. Think about it, anything you work on for more than 5 to 20 minutes, that you could lose, is worth bucking up.

Backup software allows you to earmark which files you want to backup. You can choose to back up all files that have changed since the last backup. That procedure saves time, and means that you only need an entire system backup on a lenient basis.

Online services that perform backups offer great flexibility as well as to what gets backed up and when they occur.

Security Counts

Backing up files to elsewhere on your own computer might be quick and easy, and even satisfying in the short run, but it is not secure. If anything happens to the unit itself, your data could be jeopardized.

You want to have either a portable hard drive, a high density DVD, or a 32 GB or 64 GB flash drive, onto which you can copy your data. Then, keep it in a secure location.

When to install is before you have some data mishap. Too many computer users wait until something goes terribly wrong and then they realize the value of using an external hard drive.

Why wait? The prices are quite reasonable, the process works quickly, you gain a huge amount of storage space, and there is no continuing cost after your initial purchase. What’s not to like?

An External Hard Drive

Employing an external hard drive to backup your computer is among the best protective measures you can choose to secure your data.

If you’ve never employed an external hard drive, you’re in for a pleasant experience. They are not difficult to install, and you can virtually plug it in right out of the box.

The new hard drive then will appear on your Explorer tree, and you can literally drag-and-drop your files from your C: drive to your external drive. You have the option of manually backing up your files or using transfer type software which runs in the background and backs up files automatically.

Nothing Lasts Forever

What about potential down sides? If you use the drive long enough, in time, it will fail, as will every piece of hardware you’ve ever used. Also, you must have your drive connected if you want to do daily backups. If every few days or every week is fine with you, it’s easy enough to unplug and securely store the device.

In any case, it’s worthwhile to install an external hard drive – before you have some type of major data mishap.

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Posted by Jeff Davidson

Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony.

Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including:
* Managing the Pace with Grace®
* Achieving Work-Life Balance™
* Managing Information and Communication Overload®

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