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Taking Care of Business – Hard Lessons Learned

For all of us who literally LIVE on the internet, for business, pleasure or a combination of both, we have become, sometimes, painfully aware of the necessity of being at least a little informed about how to take care of business – and right now I’m talking about taking care of your computer and its data, in particular.  I imagine it’s a rare bird who hasn’t been duped into opening an attachment that was a serious virus, or who hasn’t found himself in some situation that caused harm, and resulted in lost time, and sometimes lost data.

I know that learning everything to do with technology can be overwhelming, just like learning internet marketing, but the only way to do it is to take things in small bites (bytes?) and learn things one step at a time.  I marvel at what I know now that I didn’t a year ago.  All it took to get me motivated to learn was a couple incidents.

1.  The first thing that happened was that I did not update my Microsoft software in a timely manner and I continued to let emails pile up (albeit nicely filed in folders) to the tune of about 9,000 emails.  Some of those folders contained pictures and documents that could not be replaced.  I was then using Outlook 2000 (this happened years ago, but I’ll never forget it), and one day, it simply crashed and would not open.  I did not realize there was a 2G limit on it, and the very second you stepped over that 2G boundary – BAM!  Shut out!  The file then became corrupted and I had no good backup (at that time), so after a couple of computer gurus messing with it to no avail, I just had to decide that my life wasn’t going to be changed by this loss, and I had to get over it.  Which I did, because this is the first time in years I’ve talked about it.

Two lessons learned here:

  • Update my software – the newer 2003 Outlook has 20G of storage capacity, and all my loss could have been prevented had I updated my software sooner.
  • I now have an off-site backup every night.  I’ve tested it, it’s robust, and I sleep better at night.

2.  The second thing happened just last year.  I opened an attachment in an email that claimed to be from UPS.  Well, we use UPS on a regular basis, and I didn’t think twice about it.  SHABAMBO!  Trojan horse, virus, infections – total disaster!

Two lessons learned here:

  • DON’T open attachments in an email unless you’re expecting one from a trusted source.
  • Always have a local computer company who will come running if you get in a bind.  And find one who’ll come to you.  My guy was at my office within 30 minutes and after about an hour, I was cleaned up, and back in business.  It was worth the $150 service fee.  I simply cannot stress this enough – know who you can call AHEAD of time if you have a problem.  It’s just as important as having your doctor picked out before you get sick.