Hind Sight is 20/20

This isn't easy to admit. But I messed up. Royally. 
HOW many times had I thought to myself: "Self. You really need to back up your files on the server before something happens." And how many times had I ignored this wise advice? Too many to count.
Make sure you're backing up your projects. If you've ever experienced a computer crash or hard drive malfunction like I have, you know how awful it can be to lose pictures, files, and months or years of work. This article shares tips on organizing computer files and backing them up in case of hard drive failure.

Let's face it. As teachers we have MORE than enough to do every day. And the last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day is backing up my files again. So I let it slide.

For 2 years...

So, today I share a cautionary tale.
I thought was doing what I needed to.
I saved my files onto an external hard drive.
I organized them into folders and routinely eliminated files I didn't need.

But life happens.

I bought a new laptop and never got around to transferring my files over to it. I ended up using my external hard drive as my primary storage device. All of my newest files were stored there. Easily accessible and very portable.

Then a nightmare event occurred.
Something went wrong.
And nobody can figure out what happened.
All I know is that I can no longer retrieve any files from the device.
It completely crashed.
All of my most current files are gone!

I know I'm a STEM teacher, so I'm supposed to be a technology guru, but it's just not true. I know a few tricks and use some pretty cool apps, but mostly I just freak out when something isn't going right.
Make sure you're backing up your projects. If you've ever experienced a computer crash or hard drive malfunction like I have, you know how awful it can be to lose pictures, files, and months or years of work. This article shares tips on organizing computer files and backing them up in case of hard drive failure.
Fast forward 2 incredibly stressful and emotionally draining weeks.

I've learned my lesson.
I did some research.
I asked several "experts".
I compared prices and features.
I bit the bullet and invested.
I paid for cloud storage.
And because I know that there must be others out there who have been putting off investing in online file storage, I thought I would share what I learned.

Lesson #1:
Back up your files.
Then back up your back up files.
Then maybe just once more, back that up too.
Make sure you're backing up your projects. If you've ever experienced a computer crash or hard drive malfunction like I have, you know how awful it can be to lose pictures, files, and months or years of work. This article shares tips on organizing computer files and backing them up in case of hard drive failure.
The big questions I had was this:
HOW do I back up my files that I am currently editing on a semi regular basis?
The answer I found was this: CLOUD STORAGE

Lesson #2:
Invest in an online cloud storage account.
There are many services that allow a certain amount of free storage, but since I have so many files and they are often very large, I decided to go ahead and pay for 1TB of storage.
And thank goodness for Google and YouTube!
What did we ever do without them?
Here are a couple articles I found especially useful.

Which cloud storage service is right for you?

Which Cloud Storage Service is Right for Your Small Business?

Top 5 Cloud Storage Services 2015

Dropbox vs Google Drive 2015 Edition

To tell you the truth, I can't say that ONE provider is better than another. It really depends on what you are wanting to use your storage for. I found the comparisons on each of these websites especially helpful.

Here are some of the things I considered when making my decision:
1. PRICE
Let's face it. We are teachers and there isn't usually a lot of extra money at the end of the month. Or at the end of the first week after pay day, for that matter. I wanted the most "bang for my buck". (Dropbox offered a full year of storage for $99.99 if I paid all at once.)

2. EASE OF USE
Again, I teach STEM but that doesn't mean I'm an amazing tech person. So I wanted a service that was pretty user friendly. I wanted it to be easy to navigate through my files and access them anywhere. (Dropbox looks so much like my regular file storage system of file folders inside of file folders.)

3. AVAILABILITY ACROSS DEVICES
I wanted to be able to access my files anywhere from any device. I admit that I haven't fully converted to iOS - I still LOVE my DELL at home. So I wanted something that would work for all of my many devices whether I was at home or at school or even at another person's house. (Dropbox allows me to access my files from any operating system!)

Note: I am not being paid to promote Dropbox. In fact, GoogleDrive is an excellent option as well. I just finally ended up making a choice. I suggest really looking into the options before purchasing a plan. Maybe even try out the free services offered before making a final decision.

Lesson #3:
Always have a hard copy.
I'm a bit of a paper hoarder anyway, so this doesn't bother me too much.
Make sure you're backing up your projects. If you've ever experienced a computer crash or hard drive malfunction like I have, you know how awful it can be to lose pictures, files, and months or years of work. This article shares tips on organizing computer files and backing them up in case of hard drive failure.
But for those of you that HATE saving a hard copy of everything, let me tell you that it has been my salvation over the past couple weeks.
For those newer files that I created just for a single lesson and hadn't posted anywhere online yet, I was able to recreate them.
Yes, it took time.
Yes, it was irritating.
But, it got me through a couple of weeks of teaching when I thought all was lost.

So, how often do YOU back up your files?
Where do you keep those back ups?
Do you have back ups of your back ups?

(Note to self: Back up my files again today!)

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