Saturday, June 06, 2009

Planning your personal backup

Planning a backup of all important aspects of your life is an activity that we all have to perform for our lives to ensure that information pertaining to us is easily available and accessible to key family members and ourselves at the time of need.  The aspect of backup sounds daunting but it is really a one time effort that you can invest into and the incremental keeping track is very minimal in nature.  The peace of mind and returns in provides us far outweigh the time and effort we have to invest into getting ready.  Let us explore the mechanisms of backup and then understand specific aspects of our life and how you can back them up.

Scan all original documents
Always scan all original documents and keep good quality color scanned images secure and easily accessible.  Refer to my past post on truecrypt, specifically on points 3 and 4 in that post for further details on how to store this information securely.  Ensure that you have a scanned copy of the entire document and store
that away for all future use (for example, to make photostat copies, all you have to do is take a black & white print out of the scanned
image and viola you are done!)

First, when you buy the property ensure that you apply for a registered copy of the title deed.  This is typically a duplicate copy of the title deed except the document is registered by the registrar and has a unique document ID similar to your original document.  This registered copy is a useful backup for the original document.    The second step as soon as you complete the registration is to follow the scan all documents paradigm.  After completing the two, you need to store this document in a secure location like a safe deposit box in the bank.

Financial Information
A while back I had outlined a method for managing one's financial data in a secure fashion.  The process and the tools outlined there would be best served.  Secondly, in many cases you can dispense with the physical delivery of statements and opt for electronic delivery so that managing them and archiving physical statements can be completely dispensed with.  Electronic delivery also helps in easy management including creating of backup copies.

Insurance plans dont require a special backup beyond the usual scan and store paradigm.  What is key is the fact that such information storage should be documented and made available to various members of the family.

Your home
We all tend to collect expensive and not so expensive artifacts around our home.  While many of us understand the importance of taking an insurance coverage to cover this risk, we probably dont take adequate steps to catalog and manage information related to these assets.  One of the best ways to keep track is thorugh Photo+video log of your entire home. All rooms, all expensive items such as furniture, jewelery and other items that you have listed in your insurance. Catalog the pictures using a simple database and add market values to each item.   Whenever you buy something expensive, take a picture and add it to the database along with its value so that this list of items is kept up to date and managed constantly.

Your vehicles
Most of the original paperwork related to your vehicle such as the title and the RC book should be managed digitally. 

Your work
Most of our work has its own enterprise class backup systems (right?) so I am not really referring to your work here but more along the lines of your benefits at work.  For example your last PF statement or the VPF statement or the pension plan or medical benefit plan that you have whose details must be stored at home and information about where it is kept and how it should be used should be shared with your spouse in case there is a reason to use these plans and you are not around.

Your education
Sit down one of these days and scan all those old marksheets and degree certificates.  Your better half will have all sorts of comments to pass about your marks and maybe even help you in the scanning process!

Your PC/Laptop

You should buy one of those massive drives that sells for peanuts these days to backup your home computer/laptop.    Just use something as simple as synctoy and the Windows scheduler to do data backups completely.  Now that is the easy part.  The harder part is that when your PC crashes and you end up re-installing the operating system, you dont have a clue where those pesky driver disks are for your favourite USB based paintball shooter device!  Now either you can save up all the driver disks carefully your look at Drivemax I have personally not used this software but I have heard people sing praises about it on how it saved their lives.   This does make OS re-installation easier.

So there it is folks.  My idea of making sure you have adequate backups for various things in life.  Do you think there should be more?  Do comment and let me know.


YOU2BRUTUS said...

To add to the backup you can also use Amazon's S3 which is not very expensive and put a copy of the truecrypt(.tc) file in there.

sumi said...

This post is really useful. I have messed up many times in the past by not having a back up. Nice of you to write about it.

RB @ RichBy30RetireBy40 said...

Very useful post! Back up everything on your computer, and then back it up again!

Luckily nowadays, the other side always saves the info.

You should have a sheet with all your usernames and pws too. I can't tell how many times I forget those!



Anonymous said...

I use to store all my scans. It has a great interface, the free version has 1GB storage, and you can share and collaborate with others!

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