What To Do “Before” Your Systems and Processes Fail?

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After more than 8 years of being in business online, I have been “virtually” unable to conduct my business  in the past 3-4 weeks!


Because I couldn’t foresee a series of technology issues that happened and left me scrambling.

Two years ago the motherboard failed on my main computer, rendering all my programs, files and data unaccessible. I was able to retrieve the hard drive intact but it was an unbearably slow, painful process to retrieve everything onto my new laptop. In order to avoid this in future, I obtained 2 programs to back up my data in real time to be stored for a fee on their site – Livedrive and Sugarsync. I also purchased an external hard drive and did a weekly backup on it. Now I was covered in case I lost all my data – right? Wrong!

I have trusted Microsoft Outlook for 15 years to retrieve all my email, to insert all my Contacts, both personal and professional, all my notes on client meetings, webinars and basically a journal of all my business activities. Until a few weeks ago when Outlook retrieved all my emails from 3 years running from all my sources – my webmail from my site, my Gmail accounts and my ISP emails. I had set each Outlook account to retrieve the emails but leave a copy on each server “just in case.” 

Instead of retrieving current emails it fetched ALL of them (approx. 30,000) and when it finished, it retrieved them all again AND erased them from the various sources. While I was scrambling to delete them before they overloaded Outlook, my Outlook became corrupted.

I suddenly had NO access to anything in Outlook and for the first time ever, I had to turn to a local IT professional to help me with my problems and retrieve all my data. It was a time wasting and expensive process! And what about all the backup processes I had created? Well, Outlook overwrote all my backup pst files with the new corrupted pst file, especially the systems that back up in real time.

To add to my misery, my internet was suddenly denying me access to numerous sites, the speed of my internet was fast/then slow/then almost non-existent and my emails were getting lost or delayed in being delivered to my newly fixed Outlook. Many people suggested a virus. It was not a virus or my wireless router. It was an equipment problem in the box on my street and it wasn’t until I “demanded” that my ISP send out a technician to investigate did we find the problem – after 3 weeks of trying every other “fix” imaginable and losing clients, billable work hours and results, not to mention the perception that I was not providing an acceptable professional level of service.

I cannot stress enough that “what I didn’t forsee” or make allowance for, was a foolproof system in place to protect all my data which would have greatly reduced my stress, protected against loss of productivity and maintained the level of my professional service to my clients.

Now that everything is retrieved and my ISP service is back (I hope), my next step is to make a decision on what system to use. I know it must be something “in the cloud”

♦  where I can access it from any computer anywhere

♦  where it is safe

♦  where it can be “manually”  backed-up for retrieval

Have you been proactive in setting up your systems to protect your data? Are you prepared for the expense, lost data and downtime if you haven’t taken any action?

Any and all comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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  1. Wow, Diane, that is really awful. I have been using JustCloud for a couple of years but I suspect that if something went wrong, I would be in the same situation as you, because my PST file is overwritten each time my computer is backed up. We should probably be looking for a company who offers file versioning so it keeps past copies of backups instead of replacing them. I wonder who does that…