Plan for recovery

How do you replace The IRREPLACEABLE?

How do you replace The IRREPLACEABLE?

I once worked for a company where once a year, a consultant would come in and take us through a disaster recovery plan. She would start with a simple premise: Your office is destroyed and not accessible. How do you become operational again?

We’d spend the next hour or so talking though the plans. How do you communicate with your staff? How do you replace your equipment? What essential files are now inaccessible?

I always felt the scenarios were forced and extreme, but after watching the devastation in Columbia last week, I’m thinking a little more seriously about being prepared for a disaster.

My situation for my digital files is actually pretty good. My setup is primarily designed to guard against drive failure*, but much of it is cloud-based. I’ve got a local Time Machine backup of all of our computers. All of my photos are backed up through iCloud Photo Library and my music is covered with iTunes Match. I’ve got redundancies for important files through Dropbox. Many of my critical apps use Dropbox or iCloud to sync. Even though I’d have to piece things together, all of my important data should be preserved.

I’m thinking about trying Backblaze again. I tried once before, but it took so long to upload, I finally gave up. (That isn’t Backblaze’s fault. Non-commercial upload speeds are terrible.) I was impressed with the software, though, and I might feel better with a more complete backup of everything.

My main concern is all of the older images that aren’t digital. We bought our first digital camera not long before the birth of our first child. But anything before that is in albums and boxes. I’ve never digitized our wedding album or any of the dozens of photo albums we have from our childhood. Should something major happen, those images are gone. 

And it’s not just images. Important documents, too. Marriage certificates, birth certificates and more. I’m wondering if I should scan a selection of these things to store remotely. But I’d be concerned about privacy. And it would be a massively time consuming process. But you never know when you’ll need it.

Even though it feels extreme, it's a good habit to periodically ask yourself what would happen if you lost everything and how would you recover. Thinking about it now  – and acting – might save you heartache later.

* I’ve had two complete hard drive failures… One was thankfully on a retired machine and on the other, Time Machine completely saved me.