Back up: learning the hard way


Back up: learning the hard way

Billy MacInnes

If you need reminding of how difficult it is to get people to back up their data, you couldn't do much better than the strange story involving the theft of a Macbook from the car of medical researchers at Oklahoma University. The laptop, which belonged to university researcher Sook Shin, contained years of data concerning a possible cure for prostate cancer.

The weirdest part is that despite the value of the data, Shin had not backed it up. It's not as if it was that difficult given the OSX operating system on iMacs and MacBooks includes a facility called Time Machine that makes backing up to an external hard drive very, very simple and automates the whole process.

There are two worrying aspects to this story - actually, make that three. First, don't leave a laptop in plain view in your car as there is a good chance it could be stolen (and I speak from experience). Second, if you're a medical researcher or in a job which involves a similar reliance on critical data, you really should back it up. Third, from a vendor's perspective, no matter how easy you make it for people to back up data, you can't guarantee they will.

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