I listened to an episode of one of my favourite podcasts, Freakonomics, recently. This one was entitled In Praise of Maintenance. The idea here is that as a society, we always want to build and create new things but we neglect the maintenance of the structures and creations that we already have. Governments talk about building new highways and public transit, but it’s not so exciting to provide funding to fix existing roads or subway tracks. The same can be said be said for our own digital life.
Computer and smartphone manufacturers market to us constantly to upgrade to the latest and greatest devices. High resolution screens, fast processors and huge hard drives are very enticing as compared to our ‘old’ two year old computers! If we aren’t taking proper care of our data, then buying new doesn’t solve the existing problems that effective maintenance would alleviate.
In previous posts, I’ve talked a lot about being mindful of where your data resides and ensuring that it’s backed up. With regular maintenance of our data, we can have our cake and eat it too:
- we ensure that all of our data is safe and protected
- we can get that exciting new computer or smartphone and be confident that all of our data will seamlessly move over to it
So what kind of maintenance should we regularly be doing? Here’s a few suggestions:
- Check that backups are actually running on schedule
- Do test restores to ensure that we can actually get back our data
- Check how much free space is on our hard drives and online storage to ensure there is enough room for future growth
- Evaluate if our existing backup needs are still appropriate, such as health of external hard drives and is our online backup service still the most cost effective
- Do we have new types of data that we haven’t been backing up? This could be files related to a new project or old family videos that were recently converted to digital format
There’s many more that could apply. What types of maintenance do you need to do with your digital data?
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