I received an email from a client today, and that is what prompted me to write this post. Something terrible happened to them this weekend. While they were away from home, doing a book signing, thieves were ransacking their home. They stole everything, including the family computer. The family computer, which contained all of the photos of their 4 children from birth to current, and her entire book.
While backing up her hard drive would not have likely done her much good, because these people would have likely stolen the external hard drive as well, it made me think. How many times have I heard that saddening story from a client? That something had happened to their computer, and that they had lost all of their files.
We try to keep as much on hand as possible, but sometimes things happen in our system too, and we lose previously printed files. Also, we frequently have the PDF files, because that is what we request for printing, but not the source files that the PDF was created from. You can make very minor changes to a PDF file, but there is no guarantee that it won’t cause huge shifts in your files either. Another thing that I hear is that they had someone design their files for them, and they can’t get into contact with that person. Or, something happened and the designer’s own backups were deleted. So what you can do to be sure that you won’t be sharing this story with me someday down the road?
Back your files up! If someone else created your files for you, ask them for a copy of the source files, as well as any applicable fonts or links. Put all of your files together, in a well labeled folder, and then back it up! Make a disc of your files, put them on a jump drive, and maybe on an external hard drive as well. There really isn’t such a thing as having your files backed up in too many places. Also, be sure that, when you make changes to your files, update them, etc, that you update all of your backups as well. While you are at it, back up all of your important files. What harm is there is doing it? You can even pay someone to come in and back up your files, and to keep them off site in what is called a cold storage, if you really want to.
The important thing to remember is this. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to keep your files up to date and backed up as safely as possible. If you experience catastrophic computer failure, the last thing that you want to add to your list of stresses is whether or not you still have all of the files that you need.
As for our wonderful clients who have found themselves in a terrible situation that was out of their hands, please, share their story. Hopefully the thieves who helped themselves to the lives of this family will feel some remorse and return their computer, at the very least. You can view the story here.