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I’m sorry that we didn’t post a new article yesterday but, you see, my hard drive crashed. And so today I want to talk to you about the importance of regular backups, and to share with you my own backup set-up which, I’m happy to say, was very effective.

Now, you may not think that computer backups have anything to do with your email delivery, but you’d be oh-so wrong.

To start with the obvious, if your mailing lists, email sending software, or content creation software and templates are on your computer, and your computer breaks, you’re not only without a paddle on email creek, but the damage to your business is pouring in faster than you can bail.

But even if you are using a hosted service to send your mailings out, take a minute – I mean really take a minute – right now – and think about what would happen to your business – to your mailings – if your own personal computer suddenly went up in flames. Or, lost its hard drive.

Or imagine you woke up this morning – and your computer had just vanished.

What would the impact on your business be? What would the impact on your productivity be? What would the impact on your mailings be?

These aren’t rhetorical questions – I actually want you to answer them, in the comment section below.

Even if you think that your mailings wouldn’t be impacted directly – think about the time lost – if you lose a whole day or more to dealing with the loss of your computer and all your data, what does that do to your mailing schedule? (And we’ve already talked about what can happen if your mailing schedule isn’t regular!)

So, let’s assume now that you understand and realize the importance of not having your computer just suddenly go on vacation.

That leads us to the importance of making regular backups. And I mean regular backups.

This was driven home to me just a bit over a year ago, when my own hard drive crashed while I was on a business trip, and I didn’t have any current backups. First, I had no backup with me (because I was on a trip), but I also didn’t have any really current backups anywhere.

That was the first and last time that has happened to me. Because now I’m zealous about backing up my computer. In fact, I have a redundant backup system, so that if one backup device fails, I still have a current backup of all of my data.

My redundant backup system includes backing up to a network hard drive, backing up to my Amazon S3 account (so that even if my office or house burned down, and all my computers were turned into worthless lumps of twisted metal and plastic <sniffle>, my data would be safe), and, backing up to my iPod Video so that I have a backup with me wherever I go.

I do a full backup to both the network hard drive and S3, and I back up all of my critical documents, email, and settings (but not pictures or music) to the iPod.

Fast forward to yesterday.

My hard drive crashed. Which, again, is why I couldn’t post an article here yesterday. Because I spent the entire day at the Apple store, where they tried to resuscitate my hard drive.

Which they couldn’t.

So they installed a new hard drive (thank you Apple Boulder, you guys rock!)

Which meant that all of my data was gone.

Now, when this happened to me last year, I was stressed beyond belief. This time, however, while I was stressed about losing a full day of work, I wasn’t at all stressed about my data. Because, I had my backups. And I knew they were current, and I knew that even if one of my backup devices somehow failed for some reason, I have redundant backups.

So all of my data wasn’t really gone.

As soon as I got back to the office I plugged in my iPod and restored my hard drive from it, and within an hour I had all of my email and documents back – it was as if nothing had ever happened. Overnight I did a full restore from my network drive.

Now, here’s the thing; even though I had learned a good lesson last year, and so I was fully prepared with the backups this year, I still learned a valuable lesson this year. Because, I lost a full day of work, and these days when that happens unplanned, it’s nearly catastrophic. Catching up is darned near impossible, and, of course, missed mailings (to bring this back to email delivery) get customers unhappy.

So here is the lesson that I learned this year:

This year, when I left the Apple store with my new hard drive, I also had a brand new laptop under my arm. Yes, I now have not only redundant backups, but redundant computers. Next time (and realistically there will be a next time as, hey, failures happen), when my hard drive fails, I will simply do a restore of the most current backup to the backup laptop, so that I won’t lose more than an hour (instead of at least a whole day) while my primary computer is out of commission.

I only wish I’d thought of this last year. Then you wouldn’t have had to miss your daily dose of Getting Email Delivered yesterday.

🌟 Has this been helpful? Please let us know here!

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