Floods and lava flows: preparing your digital life for disaster

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Guest Author

Peter Hale is the Content Marketing Manager at Acronis. A seasoned marketing communications pro and an award-winning journalist, he has extensive experience writing about complex topics in the fields of science, technology, finance, and business management.

Whether it’s storm waters flooding the southeastern United States, the lava flowing through the streets of Hilo, Hawaii, or the continued power outages in Puerto Rico, recent natural disasters don’t just generate dramatic news. They upend the lives and businesses of countless people. When families and business owners evacuate, they must quickly decide which physical items to bring with them.

From health records to payroll records, a backup can provide critical consolation that not all will be lost, no matter how chaotic and terrifying the disaster.

Protection in the face of disaster

As a rule, local backup is always a good starting point. It’s especially helpful when you need to recover something quickly following more common problems like hardware failure or accidental deletion.

But when it comes to disaster preparedness, having a backup copy of your most critical data stored safely off-site ensures your digital valuables can be retrieved once the emergency has passed. It also ensures remote access or recovery if you can’t return home for a while.

Begin at the beginning

The first step to preventing data loss is making digital copies (backups). Whether you’re storing personal or business data, you should follow the 3-2-1 rule of backup—three copies of your data; two on different types of storage, and one stored off-site.

The primary copy of your data is located where you live/work, the place you inhabit the most: on your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The second copy should be retained on an external or portable drive like an external hard drive, a USB, or a network attached storage (NAS) device.

Backing up data on local hardware often spares you software or hardware disaster woes and lets you recover from data loss relatively quickly with minimal cost.

Expect the unexpected

Thinking ahead, local backups aren’t enough if your office or home is damaged by fire, flooding, or lava flow. That’s because the storage device holding your local backup is likely to suffer the same physical harm on such an occasion—putting your backup at risk.

Keeping a copy of your backup files off-site ensures that one version will survive even if your local copies are destroyed. The cloud is a convenient and secure option that many people use for their off-site storage.

Prioritize your backup

You should approach data disaster preparedness by thinking about what will go with you as the floodwaters rise. Focus on the data required to maintain your daily business or home life, and then be sure to store those elements off-site.

If you're also a business owner, you might want uninterrupted digital access to:

  • Incorporation and other legal documents or contracts
  • Tax information
  • Employee payroll Information
  • Employee health insurance information
  • Access controls
  • Computer databases

Individuals should also back up things like:

  • Social Security cards
  • Passports
  • Health insurance cards
  • Prescription information
  • Tax records and information
  • Homeowner policies
  • Auto policies
  • Life insurance policies
  • Family photographs
Follow through

Knowing specifically what data you value most is essential to disaster preparedness. But much like saying “buy a life raft”, if you don’t do it, you could be in big trouble in an emergency.

Having an easy-to-use and safe cloud backup solution ensures you have the lifeline needed to reliably access and restore your critical data no matter what.

Off-site in the cloud

Acronis Backup allows you to protect your business-critical data—individual files and emails—and create a full image backup of your operating system (OS), including recent updates to it, all your applications, and all your settings. It makes storing valuable data off-site in the cloud simple. Ultimately, this means that restoring everything you need to keep your business running becomes a snap—so you can re-establish operations faster, retain customer trust, and protect the company’s reputation.

Plus, it includes Acronis’ artificial intelligence based anti-ransomware defense, which actively protects your data, applications, and systems from unauthorized modification or encryption.

Focus on what’s important

Data loss can happen at any time, for any reason—including unforeseen natural disasters. In an emergency, your focus should be saving your life and the lives of those you love. Having a cloud backup solution can ensure your digital life is safe too. With a reliable, secure, and easy-to-use cloud solution in place, you can regain access to your must-have data and help you and your company get back to normal.