Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Contemporary Fail-safe Solutions – An Ode to the Cloud

It’s late and you’ve just pulled a marathon 18-hour session putting together the finishing touches of a major project. It’s the eleventh hour and the deadline is looming, so it’s time to get those deliverables sent. You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into making this project the best that it can be, because you know that you operate in a results-based profession where the skills you possess on paper don’t amount to anything unless you can deliver the goods. Deep down you know that if this goes well you may look back and see this one project as the breakthrough that broke the doors on your career wide open. You’ve dotted every “i” and crossed every “t”. You’ve double-checked and you’ve triple-checked. It’s perfect. You stroll over to the kitchen and pour yourself a celebratory glass of wine. As you stride back to the computer for one last glance of satisfaction, a poorly positioned electrical cord brushes up against your ankle diverting your attention. Suddenly there’s a chain reaction stemming from a momentary loss of equilibrium – an unfortunate byproduct of your mismanagement of time and resulting in a lack of sleep. You go hurtling toward your workstation smashing into your desk and pouring wine all over your computer. The screen is frozen. Nothing moves. All is lost.

There is almost no more important task in modern business than protecting the integrity of your work, and in this day and age there are a myriad of solutions at your fingertips to ensure that all is never lost.

Storage Solutions

Short term: Backing up relevant work to multiple locations should be standard practice for everyone as digital mass storage devices have become plentiful and cheap. Saving to a flash, or USB connectable external disc drive, is always recommended. Any piece of hardware, however, can become lost or damaged, so the degree of importance you place on a project determines the number of devices you use.

Long term: Ah, the cloud! Mystical bands of binary information that float unblemished amidst the digital ether seems the stuff of science fiction, but it’s quickly becoming an essential business reality. The cloud is literally information stored on huge servers that remains at all times part of the expanding universe that is the internet. For pennies a day you can upload and download information like it was your own hard drive. The difference is if you’re computer breaks down, all you need is another computer and it’ll be right where you left it. 

Although there are many cloud storage options out on the market, Amazon Glacier is a cost-effective cloud storage solution worth investigating.


Keeping important files and work documents in multiple locations is essential to being able to fail-safe, so file sharing is a great way to spread the safety around and there are several ways to do it. When files are contained on a hard drive they are rooted to that location, but with file sharing it’s easy to pass along important documents that others can get to if they need to.

Free File Transfer Sites: Depending on the size of the files you are dealing with, there are number of great file transfer options through the cloud. With free file transfer sites, unlike cloud storage where you essentially pay for space, there are limitations like a cap on file sizes, or how long files that are uploaded are available to download. There are number of options available to users for easy transfer of files including: WeTransfer, HighTail, and TransferBigFiles.

Dropbox: Unlike with file transfer sites, Dropbox is actually a program on your computer that sets up a folder designed to be shared by your computer and any other computer that you invite to share with it. It’s just like any other folder on your computer and files stay exactly where they are, but as soon as anything is placed in your Dropbox, it’s essentially saved on any of the computers that also share that folder, so you can be sure that even if you lose it, someone else will still have it.

Modern technology has provided so many tools to make sure we can stay on top of our projects and mitigate potential disasters. Hundreds of people have learned the hard way that can go wrong and they have designed so many solutions that there quite literally is an app for that. It’s not enough to just save your work anymore. Nothing should be left to chance, so make sure you’re using all the resources you have available, including the cloud, to your advantage and rest easy knowing that your work will be preserved the way it should be and will be ready for delivery.

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