If your computer’s hard drive crashed today would it mean:

An inconvenience? You would simply load your backup onto another computer and continue to do use your documents. A new hard drive would be purchased, the operating system and programs reinstalled from the CD-ROMS and then your documents re-loaded; or

A catastrophe? All of your documents have been lost forever because even though you know you should do a backup, for one reason or another it just hasn’t happened.

If the answer is the later, whether you realize it or not, it impacts the way you work with a computer every day. As long as lack a system for backing up, you cannot trust your computer. You unconsciously avoid getting too attached to anything stored on it, because you realize it could all be gone in an instant.

In reality, data is much safer now than ever before. A decade ago, a fire, flood, or tornado could destroy every record in a school with no hope of retrieval. Today, even though a natural disaster could destroy the contents of an entire building, the data stored on a backup off site is safe.

The content of the “My Documents” folder at school are backed up, and that backup is at my house. Likewise, I have backed up the “My Documents” folder on my home computer. That backup lives at school.

Being able to trust that I am not going to lose digital data gives me the peace of mind which keeps me from feeling the need to print everything. Digital data is much faster that finding paper even in a good paper filing system.