Protecting Your Stuff: Cloudy Skies AheadPosted on April 5, 2013 by
“Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.” ~ Clifford Stoll
Tonight you’re closing on a lucrative short sale. Afterwards, you’ve got a special dinner planned. And it’s good to know your seller will sleep better than she has in months. Yes, it’s going to be a great night. All you need to do now is print out the paperwork.
So you turn on your laptop and … nothing. Nothing. Just the dreaded blue screen of death!
Viruses happen. Spilled coffee happens. Accidentally dropping your iPhone in the swimming pool because you insisted you could carry four margaritas while you dance the hula with your cute cousin Betsy, well, that happens too.
If you’re like me, your whole life is in your iPad. Heaven forbid all that information should suddenly disappear! You can install anti-virus programs, you can be careful what you download, but here’s the bottom line: It’s not a matter of if your system will crash. It’s just a matter of when. It’s true for notepads and smartphones as well as laptops and PCs. So no matter what else you do, you’ll need to make sure all that wonderful information lives somewhere safer than your laptop.
And that means you need to back up your stuff. You need a copy of all the stuff you care about in your computer. That way, if your smartphone goes kaput, or if it gets stolen, or if you leave it out in the rain, you’ll still have a copy of all your documents and photos.
Backups have come a long way just in the past few years. Remember when you had to copy your hard drive onto about a hundred floppy disks? And you had to make sure you kept the disks in a safe place, away from your computer. Not anymore. Now, there’s something called “the cloud.”
So what the heck is the cloud? Think of it as a great big data storage room in the sky.
You’ve probably used cloud computing without even knowing it. Every time you look at your yahoo email account, for instance, you’re computing in the cloud. The emails don’t live on your hard drive, right? They live somewhere “out there.” In other words, in the cloud.
Easy access to the cloud is a game-changer for investors. The cloud is what makes mobile computing possible. It lets you keep your stuff in a central location so you can get to it from any computer device with Internet access. You can create a purchase offer at home on your PC and park it on the web. Then you can edit it on your notepad while you wait for your latte. You can even bring it up on your smartphone for a last-minute change.
Here is small sampling of some cloud-computing resources you might find useful:
- iCloud. This is Apple’s application for backing up your files; you can use this for free if you use an iPad or iPhone. It’s easy to set up, and you get 5 gigabytes of storage space. (www.icloud.com)
- Evernote and Dropbox: Both of these applications allow you to store and share files. Each has somewhat different capabilities but both allow you to store copies of documents and more. (www.evernote.com and www.dropbox.com)
- Shutterfly and Photobucket. You’ll want to protect more than your documents. You’ll want to back up your photographs as well, whether they’re family portraits or pictures of your next house purchase. (www.shutterfly.com and www.photobucket.com)
Your data represents a lot of hard work, so take care of it. If you do, the world will be your office.
Still, keep your phone away from the swimming pool. You know, just in case.