17 November 2020

4 Things to Know About Protecting Your Documents




If you’ve been hanging around with me for any amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of backing up your documents. It makes sense – you’ve taken the time to create the document, it probably holds important information, and chances are, there’s only one copy of it.

Disaster can strike anytime in the form of a computer crash or accidental deletion. Not to mention fire, theft, flood, viruses, etc. And I’m not just talking about digital documents here. Our vital records – marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc. – are usually on paper and are just as susceptible to damage. So what can you do to protect yourself? Below are four things to know when it comes to protecting your documents: 

  1. Scan in your vital documents if they are in paper format. Yes, you most often need the actual physical documents when you have to produce it, but sometimes a digital copy works and it helps to have a copy of the original document in case of destruction. If you don’t have a flatbed type scanner, there are apps like Adobe Scan you can use with your phone.
  2. Remember the 3, 2, 1 philosophy. Back up three different copies of your documents, in two different places, at least one of which is off-site. It sounds like a lot, but remember that your original is one copy, back up another copy using online backup  (Carbonite or BackBlaze), then have another copy saved on an external hard drive. I have my working documents on my computer, in Dropbox, and backed up online. My vital documents are on my computer, backed up online using Crashplan, and backed up on an external hard drive. 
  3. Online sync programs like Dropbox and Google Drive are not the same as online backup programs like Carbonite or BackBlaze. Online sync is designed so you have access to your documents regardless of where you are. This is especially helpful if you are moving between computers or if you need to share documents with a spouse or work partner. Yes, some like Dropbox offer limited online backup/storage, but it’s a  max of 30 days which may not be enough time. We had a hiccup in our computers and lost documents and because they weren’t active working documents, it took us almost two months before we realized the documents were missing. 
  4. Finally, make sure you are using descriptive file names. Doc 1 and Doc 3 aren’t going to help you if you need to recover something from online backup. Take some now to purge those documents you no longer need so if you have to recover something, there is less ‘junk’ to sort through. 

If this is all new information for you, don’t worry! There’s no time like the present to start protecting your documents. My suggestion is to start by signing up with an online backup service. The first backup can take several days and while that is working, you can be scanning in vital documents and cleaning up your files.

Interested in some help with this whole process? Let me know and we can tackle it together! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!

15 September 2020

4 Steps to Organized Files




Are you ready for more organized files? Is it time to stop searching, and searching, for that one document you need right now, but can never find. How many times are you going to recreate a form because you can’t find the original? It’s frustrating and all that searching is just wasting time you could spend doing something you actually like to do. (unless you’re me, who loves organizing files 🙂 )

So now’s the time to get organized! Check out my Four Steps to Organized Files. It seems like a lot of information, but don’t worry, you don’t have to complete the process in a single day. Instead, take 10 – 15 minutes a day to tackle the folders and files and before you know it, you’re on your way to a better organized system that allows you to be more productive (and gives you more time for you!).

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Determine Your File Structure

How do you want your files to be arranged? Are you separating business from personal files? What about your financial files? Are they different for business versus personal? A flat structure – one with fewer subfolders – is the best place to start.

When you are first determining your file structure, think big categories like Marketing, Continuing Education, Financials, etc. As you add files into these folders, you will begin to see where you need subfolders. Don’t worry about getting your structure right the first time. Your file structure is a living document that gets fine-tuned as you go.

Step 2: Gather Your Files

 Where do your files hang out? You might be surprised how far-flung your documents are. Check out your cloud storage sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, (don’t forget OneDrive!), current and old computers, USB drives, external hard drives, and wherever else you can think they could be hiding. Don’t forget to check for documents you may be sharing with someone else. 

Step 3: Find Your New Home

Once you’ve got all your documents accounted for, determine what is going to live where (and if there is actually room for those documents there). It may not be realistic to have everything in one location. Cloud storage offers you easy access regardless of where you are, but many people are only on one computer, so remote access isn’t that big of an issue.

Do you need to share documents with others? This may be another reason to consider cloud storage in addition to or in place of computer storage. Regardless of where you put your documents, make sure they can be backed up for the greatest security.

Step 4: Move Documents

You’ve created your structure in the new location, now is the time to move your documents. Don’t forget to be cautious with those shared documents in cloud storage. These are ones you might not be able to move right away or be able to move at all based on how and who is doing the sharing. Once you have your documents moved to their new homes, make sure your backup system is in place to provide peace of mind and protection for all that hard work you’ve done!

You’re done! How’s it feel to be in charge of your documents, rather than letting them run your day? Better good, right? Now it’s time to keep up what you worked so hard to achieve. Make sure you are creating and saving documents in the ‘right place’.

Do you have time for an extra step? Run a duplicate file finder program. Check out an earlier Ilios Blog Post for suggestions!

Need some assistance organizing your files? Looking for more in-depth instructions on how to get started? Let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!

22 July 2017

How online backup saved my life




Online Backup Saves Lives

Backing up your data is something we’re told to do. It’s something we intend to do. But it’s also something we don’t always get around to. This is the beauty of online backup software like Crashplan or Backblaze.

Online backup is a lifesaver. A few years ago, our home computer hiccuped and lost files without us realizing. Once we figured out what was missing – and how much was missing – we started to panic. I have an external backup drive of my most important, can’t ever lose these, vital documents in addition to online backup. However, many of the documents that I lost were standard operating files like client forms and reports.

crashplan online backupBecause we had Crashplan – which was still doing home backups at the time – we were able to figure out exactly when the hiccup happened, then have Crashplan mail us a physical backup drive from before that day. If it had just been one or two documents lost, I would have downloaded them directly from the website. I also have the peace of mind knowing that if something were to happen to my computer, I could get all my files and documents back without a lot of hassle. Well worth the $12 (or 3 Starbucks) per month.

If you aren’t already set up with online backup, give me a call and I’ll show you how!

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