|Photo by Gayle Martin|
It's happened to me twice now. That oh so sickening feeling of going to open a file, only to discover that either part of it is gone, or it's missing altogether. Computers are mysterious creatures. I jokingly tell people they're black magic and voodoo, and sometimes I wonder if there could actually be some truth to this. Both times this happened was after I had saved the files and shut down my computer properly, which proves that files can still be lost or hopelessly corrupted, even when you've done nothing wrong. This is why I have off site storage, and why I so highly recommend having it to others, whether or not you're a writer.
Off site storage, sometimes called, the cloud, is just that. Your files are backed up to a third party server, and, heaven forbid, your computer gets lost or stolen, or an important file gets lost or damaged, you can easily download a backup. Some people may worry about privacy, and that's a legitimate concern. However, any reliable off site storage company will encrypt your files.
I use Carbonite, but there are other back up services out there. Carbonite costs a little over $50 per year, and it's money well spent. It automatically backs up my files, and whenever I've had to use it I found it very easy to locate and download the needed files. The first time I used it was to recover a Word file, and I got all but the last two paragraphs back. More recently, I had to recover an Adobe InDesign file that mysteriously vanished from my hard drive. Carbonite downloaded it completely intact.
Some people tell me they don't need off site storage as they manually back up their files to a flash drive. That's fine as long as you remember to do it on a daily basis. However, Murphy's Laws being what they are, rest assured the day a file corrupts or disappears completely will be the same day you didn't do a back up.
Stuff happens, and it can happen to you. Carbonite has saved my rear-end not once, but twice, so I'm now a customer for life.