I love technology. I mean I truly do. I'm not a geek nor do I even attempt to pretend to be. I know what I know and what I don't know definitely goes over my head but I completely and thoroughly love being a part of this world where technology changes literally overnight.
The fact that I can sit here looking out over beautiful Lake Ontario on a Saturday morning and send a note to someone in any country I choose and they will get it instantly amazes and impresses me. When my son was deployed in 2009, being able to "talk" with him on the computer literally a world away from him saved my sanity.
However, when that technology fails us, life can be very very scary. This past week, The Wild Rose Press experienced a severe malfunction when we switched hosting companies and our email system completely shut down for 8 days. It was as if someone had put me in the middle of the dessert with no food or water or cell phone! Looking at my inbox as it lay empty or worse seeing the "bounced" replies come back as I tried to reach out to staff members had my heart racing and not in a good way.
We should all plan for disasters even if we don't like to think about them. At The Wild Rose Press we planned for a complete breakdown in technology. We have back-ups of all our files, every manuscript ever published, cover art, contracts, everything backed-up in a secure location. We also require our staff to have back-ups of their computers. But we never thought about the email system. It was secure, it worked fine, why would it ever not work? We never thought to have a secondary system in place in order to communicate with staff in the evening of a situation like this. We were naive. This was a serious wake-up call and showed us that with all the technology in the world at our fingertips, we could be brought to our knees in seconds.
Its always good practice to save your most important documents, manuscripts, digital family photos, anything like that somewhere secure and offsite. It doesn't necessarily have to be a bank safe deposit box - although that's the best answer in my opinion - but it could be as simple as the home of someone you trust - another family member or best friend - anywhere that is not the same physical location as your computer. In the event of a natural disaster you would have peace of mind that your back-up was safe.
Another alternative to that is an online storage facility that for a small fee will allow you to back up your entire computer online. I believe there's a company called www.mozy.com that will automatically back up your computer on a schedule you set for an annual fee. If something were to happen you could access everything you need. Think about it. Its one less headache after all if you have to deal with something truly out of your control.
The Wild Rose Press emails are all up and running as of this morning. If you sent in a query or an email to any of us between June 2 and June 10, please resend. We look forward to being in touch with all of you.