Data Loss, You Ain’t the Boss of Me
I couldn’t always make that statement. I’ve experienced deep loss myself; around year three into my self-employment as a writer, I dealt with a laptop crash. My only device, my source of income, my personal history book and keeper of all things valuable — was dead. The dreaded blue screen of death, taking my work with it into the abyss. Data loss. Because I was relatively new to this independent business thing, I was unaware of a nifty little thing called “backup.”
I went through all the stages of data loss grief:
• Denial (or panic): NOOOOOOOOOO this did not just happen! Restart, please restart. If I pound the keys harder maybe it will come back. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
• Anger: I hate this machine. I hate technology. Why is this happening to me? They probably built it to crash. I feel a migraine coming on.
• Bargaining: I’ll send it off to an IT friend several hundred miles away. He says he can get almost any lost data back. Surely it can’t be lost forever. They can take these things apart and find the data, right? Doesn’t data recovery work like a preserved little brain?
• Depression: Everything’s gone. All my work. All my pictures. Oh man, I’ll never really know what all I lost. I feel so empty inside. I’m too young and attractive to be a laptop widow. My life is over.
• Acceptance: I guess it’s time to start afresh. It’s all gone. I have to let go. I can go through my emails and try to find attachments with some of my work projects. That’ll help.
I’d like to add another stage to data loss grief: Getting smarter. I vowed quite dramatically after that horrifying incident that I shall Nevah. Lose. Data. Again! *fist in air like Scarlett O’Hara* I promptly purchased a backup external hard drive – well, first I bought a new laptop. I also bought my first subscription to a backup cloud service.
But even if you’re all smart and backing up like you should, there are other malicious forces conspiring to cause data loss — so watch out for these too, and do what you can to avoid them. Prevention is the first step. Wait, chocolate is the first step. Then, prevention.
Preventing Data Loss
There’s the User Error category:
• Accidentally deleting the wrong files – We’ve all done this. Or is it just me? Entire edited manuscripts, gone. If you backed up on the cloud this would never again give you night terrors.
• Spilling your coffee on the keyboard – Try a sippy cup with a lid.
• Dropping your machine and damaging the hard drive – Setting your laptop on the corner of the couch and tripping over the cord is probably a good thing to avoid.
Then there are the ones we can blame others for, but learn how to prevent:
• Viruses and malware – Get the latest and best security software available. And don’t click on dodgy stuff!
• Power loss in the middle of your work – Set automatic, frequent backups.
• Computer theft – Don’t leave your laptop in the car or unattended for any reason.
• Fire accidents and explosions – Rare occurrences but still reason to back up in the cloud.
I know the pain of data loss. I carry it with me deep in my heart. Maybe that’s why I have compassion on my users and I take such great care with their data when they bring me a machine for refreshing. I’ve learned. I’ve grown. I’ve gotten smarter.
Data loss is NOT the boss of me.