Monday, July 19, 2010

Backing Up Work

The recent heat wave (and resulting meltdown of my sister's computer) had me thinking about backup procedures. Introductions to becoming a translator do state the need to back up at least work in progress and recent projects, but they generally don't provide specifics. There does not appear to be a "best practices" standard stating how frequently (hourly, daily, weekly, ...) and where (on the same computer, an external hard drive on site, off-site media, online storage) work should be backed up. Similarly, a discussion of the merits vs. dangers of secure online storage seems largely absent from the larger translation community.

Some translators' blogs do talk about backup tools they use. For example, CĂ©line Graciet extols the virtues of her online backup to dropbox in her naked Translations blog. She synchronizes that backup with multiple devices, updating them automatically with the latest version of her work. That is certainly one way to go, but not the only -- or even the best -- one. There were a number of comments to Ms. Graciet's post, including a reference to a post in another blog, the Blogging Translator by Philippa Hammond. Ms. Hammond uses multiple online backup solutions. Both blogs briefly state that online backups are sufficiently secure, but don't actually discuss the pros and cons of online storage.

I tend to be fairly obsessive about backing up data (daily to secure online storage, completed projects to separate CDs for each client, weekly entire hard drive to external hard drive, printouts of all client orders). After just moving my office from a converted attic to a (cooler) 2nd floor room and lugging all those file folders with printouts, I wonder whether that's not too much safekeeping. On the other hand, I find it much faster and easier to thumb through a folder of printouts than to open a number of different e-mails in order to find the one I'm looking for.

For quite some time I was concerned about the security of online storage, but I finally took the plunge a few months ago and began regularly backing up work to a secure online site (using Norton 360, which is already my Antivirus solution). In the end, I figured that this wasn't any less secure than sending documents via standard e-mail. I still wouldn't upload my own financial data to such a site, however (although I do use my bank's online payment and account access system).

What are your thoughts on online backup solutions? What other backup solutions do you use?


  1. Well, you'r right finding out the security on of the so called online backups. I don't know about others but I use, It encrypts my data to their servers with a password. This means only and only me knows it. It's secure and safe for me :). No complaint so far.

  2. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check them out.


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