Technology is Great… Except When it isn’t!

January 7, 2011

by Christi Borden

Yesterday, we experienced an issue with our email and were taken off-line for the better part of the day. Does the thought of being “off-line” even for a moment send chills down your spine? It was an unexpected event that was beyond our control and as professionals, we dealt with it… At least some of us did.

Funny how we get so wrapped up in today’s technology and tools that we forget how to get things done IRL (in real life). Some may have decided to take the day off. I mean, how can anything be accomplished? On the other hand, some decided to plug ahead using now-antiquated methods of communications such as fax and … gasp… the landline telephone. 

This, of course, got me thinking that we all probably need to have a contingency plan for the tools that we use everyday to get business done:

  • Cell Phone: Do you have access to a second phone? I keep a second line for my team and can always carry that line if my primary phone decides to take a bath. Cell phones are a lot like cats: Attracted to water, cannot swim and will make us pay dearly if we drop them in.
  • Email: If we lose our Outlook and email capability, do we have a “printed” version of our clients’ contact information so that we can at least give them a call or a text to let them know we are still there for them, even if our email is not?
  • Computers/Data: What do you have to protect your data? External hard-drives are fine until it fails and loses all the photos from your trip to Europe … failed utterly and completely. Gone! Of course, I had reused the memory cards thinking my precious photos were safe. Gone! Sigh… Now, I use an online backup system but keep my photos on my memory cards as back-up to the back-up. Redundancy is my new middle name. (The bright side is it gives me another reason to return to Rome… as if I needed a reason.)
  • Ourselves: Finally, what is your back-up if you fail or become incapacitated? I discovered the need for this when I broke my ankle several year’s ago and realized that my clients’ needs went on even when I could not. Make sure you have someone who can easily take over in the case of emergency and that they can weed through your office to find your files. Disability insurance is also important to look into so that you might remain somewhat solvent during a time of crisis or incapacitation.

So what did yesterday’s little experiment in Murphy’s Law do for me? It reminded me that while technology and tools may fail, we need to act like Scouts and “Be Prepared”. 

What is your back up plan?