The importance vs. cost of back-up

Is back-up important?

If tomorrow there is no Internet, I will still have:

  • All the email addresses from Facebook.
  • All my personal data on Facebook.
  • All my Gmail contacts (OK, 90% of them, still it’s more than enough).
  • All my Gmail filters.
  • All my Google Calendar events.
  • All my Google Reader subscriptions (list of) and items shared.
  • All my Google+ data.
  • All my songs I’ve ever scrobbled (listened on my computer) on Last FM.
  • My LinkedIn public profile;
  • My LinkedIn email addresses for my contacts;
  • The list of my SlideShare presentations (with the presentations on my PC);
  • My Twitter stream;
  • My Yahoo! Messenger contacts;
  • A list with all of my YouTube videos (the files being on my PC).

I’ll also have these on a DVD not in my home.

Things can go wrong – accounts can get hacked, sites can lose data.

It took me around 30 minutes to get all of the data above, once I found out the procedures to do them all.

Some of the procedures are straight on:

  • Facebook lets you export all the data. So does Google+.
  • Since I only have <900 tweets and ~400 YouTube videos, I only have to save as HTML a few pages to have a list of all my tweets and my YouTube video list.

Some are harder:

  • You have to synchronize Facebook with your mobile phone to get the phone number of your contacts and you have to synchronize Facebook with another application (I use Yahoo! Mail) to get the emails from Facebook.
  • There are some external applications to get some data (Google Docs, for example, didn’t have a ‘one for all’ button, now it does :) – http://www.dataliberation.org/takeout-products/google-docs).

Some are plain hard:

  • I had to find a solution (DownThemAll!) to manually download 3.000 different URLs, containing the list of all the songs scrobbled on Last FM (around 150k songs in close to 5 years). There was a Linux alternative to this, but it was poorer.

Once you find the solution, it takes me around 30 minutes to repeat the procedure.

Now compare:

  • The value of 30 minutes in my life.
  • The potential loss of losing ANY (not all, ANY) of the things above.

The above are only back-ups of my online data. I also back-up, from time to time (and each time I leave for a longer period of time from home) my important data from my PC.

I also use cloud-storage software (more than one of them; details on – Dropbox vs. SugarSync: how to synchronize files into the cloud? – Get a result now!).

The one thing I don’t back-up are my Gmail accounts, it’s a lot of data, and it’s all online. I have all the attachments, I save all the important data (like passwords) on my PC, but for now, downloading Gmail data is just too much for me.

What I do about Gmail is this – forward the incoming mail in my most important account into two different email accounts – a Gmail and a Yahoo!

Also, I don’t keep all the emails in a single Gmail account, I have multiple Gmail accounts, so it’s a bit safer.

So, would you care for a back-up? :)

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

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