I have one of those jobs that naturally winds down towards the winter holidays and new year. For some time now, I have taken advantage of this time at work to sort through files and clean out anything that probably should have been recycled before making it in a drawer.
Part of this clean-out includes sorting, organizing, and backing up the countless digital files on my computer. Sure, we have an IT department that maintains a storage drive for our personal files, but that won’t help me if it fails one day and I am one of hundreds of employees begging to have some data restored.
This tradition is starting to bleed into my personal life as well. I create a lot of digital files and store them in a lot of places, from web site hosts, and social networks, to document hosting sites. I’ve also had a recent experience with cleaning and tying up someone else’s digital life. The information you put out there is important, it might not be clear how now, but you, or someone you love, will probably need it sometime later. If I safeguard myself at work from being one of hundreds should something go wrong, why wouldn’t I safeguard myself at home from being one of millions that a distant and faceless ‘IT’ may or may not be willing to deal with should something go wrong?
How would you do this? Never thought to ask? Well, Hotmail, if you have Microsoft Office on your computer, can be connected to Outlook and archived from there. Google offers a select data to download option under ‘Data Tools’ in your account profile. In Facebook, you can download a copy of your Facebook data under ‘General Settings.’ Tech Streak has a post about how to back up your Tumblr, though I have not tried it yet. And, of course, you can download a full copy of any website you own with an ftp transfer client. I like FileZilla.
And once you’ve got copies of everything, what do you do with it? While storage drives are popular back-ups for home computing, what about something like LibraryBox? Though created for more lofty purposes than home storage, LibraryBox would be a great way to get your data back-up off the grid, though still allow you to link into it via WiFi with any of your devices.
I’m not even going to mention privacy issues, but this is also the time of year when I close out customer and social networking accounts of places that I just don’t maintain anymore. While I’m at it, I think I should spend some time removing my personal data from places all over the web because I want to consciously control what’s sold to me.