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Diversify, multiply your IT resources

By Jean-Claude Elias - Jan 08,2016 - Last updated at Jan 08,2016

Two Internet subscriptions each with a different service provider, several e-mail addresses, replication of data on multiple hard disks and cloud storage, at least two computers and one mobile unit; this is the way to go and the price to pay to ensure maximum uptime using IT, and the peace of mind that goes with it all.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” was the wise advice given to me when I started working in the IT business years ago. The old proverb has never been as valid as now, with life in the technology world becoming as dangerous as it may be thrilling and rewarding at the same time. If certain aspects leave you little choice, others provide room for ample duplication of tools, means and services.

The “little choice” part involves deciding whether, for example, you will go Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS as your main working environment on your computer. The vast majority of people will go one way or another. In some rare instances users adopt both. I know of a few who use MS-Windows in the workplace and Mac OS at home.

Apart from the above exception, in the overwhelming number of situations you can diversify the tools and the resources while remaining under the same main system, be it Windows or Mac OS — or Android for that matter. The idea is to protect your information from corruption or loss, and to avoid interruption of service. Who can afford to be cut and deprived of Internet or computer usage, including of smartphone, for more than a couple of hours? Maybe hermits can… if there are any still left.

Last time my main ADSL ISP provider experienced a failure in the area where I live, I was able to switch the computer Internet connection and take the Internet signal from my smartphone that I set to work as a “hot spot”, like a router that gives wireless Internet access to the devices within its range. Thanks to this setting change and to the fact that the ADSL subscription and my mobile phone are with two different providers, I was not disconnected for more than 10 minutes.

Do I trust Cloud storage? Yes I do, but to follow the advice my friend gave me years ago, I have three subscriptions, one with Google Drive, one with OneDrive (Microsoft) and a third with Dropbox. You can never be too careful.

The same goes with having and managing multiple e-mail addresses: one on a paid Web domain name that you would own, and a couple with a free e-mail service like Gmail and Hotmail. Who knows when one would be out of service or would lose your entire address book?

Being in the IT business I understandably need to have and use more than one computer. Do I stick to just one brand? Of course, I don’t. For now Dell and Lenovo are the two I like and trust, though previously HP and Fujitsu-Siemens have also been part of my setup.

Last but not least, keeping multiple copies of your data on external hard disks in various locations is the only way to have protection against fire, theft and other similar hazards. This too is about duplication and diversification. Banks and large corporations know it well, but private users tend to forget this elementary precaution.

 

Admitted, multiplying and diversifying technology resources requires effort, work, some organisation, plus additional expense. It is perfectly justified, in my opinion.

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