The Biggest Technology Mistake Even Experts Make

What is it?

I’ve been working in technology longer than I want to admit and I’ve seen the same thing over and over again. It happens to I.T professionals, even university level teachers and high level government officials. It happens to micro business and small business owners and even school children.

At times in my life, usually when rushed, distracted or under stress, it has happened to me. It does not discriminate on the basis of age, financial status, education level, IQ, or gender but it can be prevented or mitigated by simple changes in process.

So what is it?

Data loss caused by accidental reasons such as power glitch, accidental deletion or device or software failure. One of the most common causes aside from human error is an external storage device such as a USB memory stick which fails suddenly. Don’t despair, common though it is, there are easy ways to make sure you can quickly recover if it happens to you.

What can be done?

It’s very hard to prevent device failure but you can prevent relying on one device or service provider by making sure you have more than one copy of everything important. Note that if placing confidential information online with cloud storage services such as OneDrive, Google or Dropbox, consider setting a password for the specific sensitive files.

Always back everything up including:

  • Your website. Not everyone knows this, but many web sites are not reliably and regularly backed up. Make sure yours is!
  • Important files which you are currently working on, including the document you are editing right now. Save it regularly and to more than one location.
  • Your backups, including items on external hard drives and items in cloud storage. Yes, you need more than one backup!
  • Mobile devices including your phone and tablet
  • Easy and cheap backup tips
  • Try some of the following to improve your backup processes :
  • Set up an automatic backup for your web site and computers. How you do this depends on the precise setup you are using so consult an expert if you aren’t sure.
  • Ensure that contacts and photos as well as any other important information are backed up from your phone to a cloud service such as iCloud or Google
  • Carry two USB sticks or drives instead of one and save files to both
  • Save files to two cloud storage accounts such as Google drive, Dropbox and OneDrive instead of just one
  • Back up the data from your mobile apps. Take a look at your home screen and figure out which apps contain important data.

Hope these tips are helpful for you and may any data disasters you have be easily recoverable.

I’d love to hear from you and hear of any changes you make to back things up better. I’d also love to know what’s bugging you about technology and what you would like me to write about, so please drop me a line.


Cathy Ewald is the founder of The ElectronicLighthouse. She has a PhD in computer science from The University of Queensland for a thesis focusing on how to make different databases work well together.She has experience in both business analysis – helping people work out what they need technology to do for them and how and systems analysis – drawing up the detailed plans as well as building or selecting actual solutions and has worked for a range of organisations including Queensland Health. She combines strong technical know-how with a passion for helping people use technology better. Her web site is