It is time I jumped in on this discussion. I have done a lot of research. The article at the link above hosted by Wired Magazine, sums up the sequence of events that expose the soft underbelly of each of us as individuals that use current technologies to manage our personal and business data. My heart goes out to Matt. He is a victim. And also a sacrificial lamb. His personal disaster should serve as a warning to us all. His pain serves as an example and should be viewed as a warning to everyone on the internet.
At the heart of this tragedy is the scourge of Identity theft. Matt’s digital identity was compromised and some very bad things were done to him. Some repairable, some irreparable. Some preventable, some not preventable.
First, let me re-emphasize one of my core beliefs and messages. “Back up your personal data LOCALLY on a regular basis!” Had Matt done this on a rhythmic planned schedule, the disaster might have been less emotional, financial, and devastating. He would have the majority of his data, and would have his irreplaceable personal assets. Note at the end of the Wired article that the most precious asset he laments is the loss of his pictures. Those of his daughter. This reinforces the issue that Personal Information is truly Personal!
This link describes how, with a minor investment of a few hundred dollars, individuals can safeguard their personal information. http://pimcoach.com/personal-information-management-ever-had-a-disk-crash-read-this
There are all kinds of issues being debated concerning information management. Both personal and corporate. These issues have been debated for decades. The issues will continue to be debated as new services become available and technologies and service continue to evolve. My mission is to inform and advise as the “Personal Information Management Coach”. Please protect yourself from a tragedy like this.
It truly does not matter how data loss occurs. Identity Theft, Disk Crash, User Error, Neglect of data, Ignorance, Naivety, Lack of proper processes, and in Matt Honan’s case malicious intent. There are several other causes and reasons to incur data loss. The net is that with a minor investment, and a bit of process you can secure your data so that you experience an inconvenience versus a disaster. Note: The relativity of that statement. Had Matt followed a proper local process and backed his information up, the circumstances still would be outrageous. But he would have his data intact. Note also that Matt admits it. My intent is not to scold Matt for not having backups. Very few individuals do. It is always too late!!
Call to action: Please learn from this hard lesson.
1.) immediately purchase two data backup devices, or have access to two. (CD, DVD, BlueRay, Thumb Drives, External disks, it really doesn’t matter what you use.)
2.) Make two copies of your information in it’s entirety. Spend the time to do this.
3.) Keep one copy locally with easy access to it. For when you experience a disk crash. And that will eventually happen to everyone! See: http://pimcoach.com/this-is-a-must-read-regarding-personal-information-management-pim#more-148
4.) Send the other copy away to a remote place. A safe place. A safety deposit box would work, but it may not be remote enough. Consider mailing it to another part of the country to a relative or friend for safe keeping, in case of disaster.
5.) Periodically (Only you can decide how often.) repeat this process. Every month? 3 months? 6 months? year? This is a must.
By the way, also do this for every loved one in the family. Kids / Young people won’t do this. Elderly won’t do this. Trust me, they will thank you later!
Call to action 2: Set proper passwords for all of your online accounts. See: http://pimcoach.com/how-to-create-secure-passwords-pim-strategy
Call to Action 3: While you are at it, also, Secure, and backup the information on your Smart Phone. See: http://pimcoach.com/how-to-manage-your-phone-%E2%80%93-pim-training-tip#more-134
Call to Action 4: Learn from this incident. It has a lot of teaching moments.
The Personal Information Management Coach