Monthly Archives: July 2013

Backing up for a Rainy Day

Today’s posting is authored by Assistant to the President, Susan Scheide.

It was an ordinary Wednesday.  The forecast was for a hot and humid day, but there were no menacing storms approaching.  Nothing to be concerned about.  An ordinary day.

The moment I opened the door to the office suite, I knew something was wrong.  There was a strange smell.  I could hear something—I wasn’t sure what—but I knew it was something  that I shouldn’t be hearing.

I entered, turned on the lights, and was met by a huge puddle of water about an inch deep.  I thought, for a moment, that it was leaking out of the A/C system, and that the puddle was just in the hallway.  I was wrong.

Four offices and a conference room were flooded.  There were wet broken ceiling tiles on the floor, on desks, on chairs—everywhere.  And the water was still coming out of the ceiling at an alarming rate! I was alone, and it was 7 AM, and it was supposed to be an ordinary Wednesday.  Instead there was a flood.  
I ran from office to office, surveying the situation and deciding what to do.  I realized I needed to report the issue before I did anything else, so I got on my computer (conveniently, my cubicle was dry as a bone!) and notified the landlord to send help ASAP.
Then I went back to the flooded offices.  The worst damage was to our tenant’s office.  His laptop computer was covered with wet ceiling tiles and sitting in a pool of water. A little worried about the water on the floor I had to walk though and all the electrical things in his office, I went in and pulled the cords out of the outlets, and then managed to extract his computer.  Water poured out of the bottom of it.  Everything near it was completely soaked.  I put his laptop in a dry area, and continued on. I rescued our expensive projector from the conference room, and moved some chairs.  I got the rest of the computers to high ground, but they all seemed dry.  Then I sent out an email to the office colleagues warning of the conditions.  And I started texting co-workers for help.
Soon enough the landlord’s crew arrived.  My ordinary Wednesday that turned into a flood was caused by a water filtration system on the third floor that broke and leaked, badly all night long.
What’s the point of my tale?  The point is that you never know when a disaster is going to strike and if your computer is not backed up regularly, you can, and probably will, lose more than a piece of hardware.  
Our tenant’s laptop was destroyed.  His parent company is attempting to extract the data from his hard drive, but he had NO back ups of his files.  
Are you guilty of only backing up your computer when you’re expecting trouble? Trouble strikes at most the most unexpected times.  Who could have anticipated a flood on a summer day, from two stories above?  No one.  And yet, at Compass, we would have suffered no serious loss, because our data files are backed up, every night, to an offsite location.  On a weekly basis, our “mission critical” files are separately and redundantly backed up onto optical disks, and taken to a secure offsite location, AND to a secondary location.  
Backing up is something even casual home users should be in the habit of doing. Those photos of your children and grandchildren are priceless, aren’t they?  Could they be reproduced?  Maybe.  But backing up is so easy and can be done simply, there’s just no reason NOT to do it.
Think of backing up as disaster insurance for the ordinary Wednesdays that don’t turn out that way.