How to make sure your data’s safe when you’re on the road
By David Kelly, About.com Guide
However, aside from the lugging around part and making sure you have all the power cords part (although that’s getting easier with lots of devices and phones simply using a USB power cord these days), business travelers also need to think about a few other things.
For example, you want to make sure you don’t leave all those devices somewhere where they might get stolen. Always secure them in the hotel safe and/or ask the front desk to hold on to them when you leave the room. But you also want to make sure that you’re thinking ahead and protecting all that data on them. Simply sliding into (or out of) the car can build up enough static electricity to zap a hard drive or make an SD card unusable. That’s why I’ve pulled together some easy suggestions below for business travelers to consider when they’re taking their digital technologies with them.
“Business travelers may encounter all kinds of unexpected problems while on the road,” says Chris Bross, Strategic Technical Alliance Engineer at DriveSavers Data Recovery. “We often hear about travelers losing their electronic equipment, having power/battery issues, having difficulty finding a working and available outlet in the airport, and finding reliable wi-fi source. Not too mention we see quite a bit of physical damage from dropping their devices.
However, if things do happen, and you’ve messed up your data storage device somehow, there may be ways to recover it. Data forensics programs and services can help people or businesses recover the data that’s stuck on damaged hard drivers or damaged devices, even when it seems like all hope is lost.
Tips for data storage when traveling.
Save stuff online. One good place to start when it comes to protecting your digital life on the road is by using one of the many Web-based services that allow users to store and retrieve documents, pictures, or videos.
Go to the Web. You can use a Web-based service to store or upload all your pictures or digital files to, and simply access them from an Internet-connected device while you’re traveling. Or, you can use these services as on-the-road backup options, copying important files or pictures to them while you’re traveling, and still keeping the originals on your local device so there are two copies.
Look for rugged electronics. Another recommendation is to purchase electronics that are designed to take a hit. For example, some laptops are specially made for travel and can endure being dropped and even having water spilled on them!
Protect Them From Moisture. Keep electronics in tightly-closed plastic bags if you’re going to be anywhere near water. Or consider purchasing a customized waterproof case for your phone or camera.
Protect them from big temperature swings. Most electronics can operate pretty well at the normal temperatures that they’re exposed to—whether it’s the hot sun at the beach or the frigid air at the top of a Colorado mountain. However, keep in mind that extreme temperatures can really mess up digital equipment and electronics. So it’s important to make sure you don’t leave your iPad, computer, or other electronics baking in a hot car on a summer afternoon, or when the temperature is below freezing. Likewise, you’ll want to watch out for humidity extremes as well. Extended spells of humidity can cause problems with hard drives and even some flash drives.
Protect them from Static Electricity. Just because you can’t see it (usually), doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter. It’s a lot easier to build up static electricity than you think. You might just be sitting at your desk in your fleece, or slipping into or out of a cloth car seat, but you can easily generate a lot of static electricity. And if that static electricity happens to zap your device, your hard drive, or even those little SD memory cards for your computer or camera, it can easily make them unreadable. Keep those little SD and memory cards in their cases, not your pocket!
Backup. Backup. Backup. It’s like real estate, but instead of location, the most important way to protect your digital life while traveling is to backup, backup, backup. Keep important files in multiple locations. When you’re using a camera or even a laptop computer on the road, you’ll want to be sure that your transfer important files to a secondary source as soon as you can. For example, if you’re taking pictures on your SD memory card, make sure you transfer those images to your computer as soon as you can. When possible, I keep them on both devices. It’s the same with any word processing files, spreadsheets or presentations you you’re working on. Make sure you back them up from your computer to a secondary disk, or perhaps back them up to a Web-based file storage or backup solution like Carbonite.
“Always carry a spare battery that is fully charged and recharge the other as soon as you remove it,” says DriveSavers’ Bross. “Carry a password protected or encrypted backup of the most critical data on a small external USB attached storage device (HDD, USB key) and consider a ruggedized external HDD for travel. Also use a verified encrypted cloud based backup service for a copy of your most critical data.”
Data Recovery Services
Don’t worry if you’ve blown it! If, after all your precautions, you managed to fry your laptop’s hard drive, or wipe your USB drive, there might be hope. There are a number of reputable services that can help companies or individuals recovery data from damaged hard drives or electronic devices.
DriveSavers Data Recovery, provides data recovery services for digital cameras, cell phones, music players, laptops and iPads, tablets, and more. The company provides free shipping from anywhere in the world for customers to ship damaged items to their facility for a no-cost evaluation.
The bottom line for business travelers is that they need to be prepared when it comes to electronic devices. “Assume that the worst could happen, and when it does, be happy that you were prepared. Restore one of those backup copies and get back to work,” concludes Bross.
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