How to create your own digital survival kit

How To Create Your Digital Survival Kit

It’s inevitable that – at some point- your computer will suffer a major crash and you’ll have to recover your files. The amount of pain that you experience at this moment will be dictated by how well you prepare beforehand.

Do The Math

If you consider that Facebook has about half a billion users – and each computer has roughly 10% odds of a serious hard drive crash in any given year – that means 16 Facebook users risk losing their data EVERY SECOND. And that’s just Facebook!

This is why I’d like to share some advice on how you can put together a data disaster plan that will keep you protected from the worst.

The first thing you’ll need to do is create a system image. This is like a “snapshot” of how your machine is today. If your computer is ever wiped out, destroyed or stolen, you can use this snapshot to restore your machine to its current configuration.

Record this image to DVD and store it in 2 locations. Keep one at home and mail the other to a friend at a different location. This will ensure that your system image never gets destroyed.

This process should be repeated about once or twice per year.

Of course, the data on a system image is only as accurate as the day it was made. Over time, it will become more obsolete. That’s why you also need to add an online backup service to automate your data protection and keep your backups up-to-date.

Here are a few tips for selecting the right online backup:

  • A CDP or Continuous Data Protection backup service will copy your data every time you save instead of doing it on a daily basis. This offers the best protection schedule.
  • Most data loss is fairly minor, and does not require a full system re-install. (Accidental deletion, overwriting a file, installing a virus, etc…) Make sure that your software is saves multiple time-labelled versions of each file, and that files are never deleted from the backups without your permission.
  • Likewise, your software should also create a local backup on a partition of your hard drive. This will help if you ever need to restore data in a location that has no Internet access.
  • Practice restoring your data at least twice per year. It’s amazing how many people will lose data because they accidentally forgot to add an important folder to their backup routine.

Once you have a current system image, along with a reliable online backup service, you should be ready to survive the worst data disasters that you might possibly encounter.

About The Author: Storagepipe guest authored this post for Today’s Survival Show and has been helping people and companies prepare for data survival since 2001. Visit their website at

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