8 Tips for secure files
No one wishes to lose important files that contain the result of hard work ready to be delivered to the customer. We can, and should, do something to prevent the loss of data. There are several things we could consider doing, and they range from regular saves to online backup services. Let us see our 8-tips list.
1. Save often
Obvious, is it not? That is why it is our number one. Learn the CTRL + S keyboard shortcut functional in most of the programs, and use it often. Also, check if your text processor is set to autosave (In Word: Tools > Options > Save > Save AutoRecovery Info).
2. Edit carefully
This is also one of the more obvious tips in this list. Edit your documents carefully. Do not just select all content in the Word or row in the Excel and then edit. Also, be aware that improper and careless use of Search and replace can make a havoc of your hard work: always doublecheck what is replaced before it is replaced. The rule of the thumb is: if you are making significant changes in the whole document, back up your working copy.
3. Compress, copy, backup
The quickest way to make a backup is to copy the files onto another location. Why not do more? You can compress all files on which you are working (translation, translation memory, glossaries) in one file bundle and thus make clean backup packages. If you use WinRAR archiver, secure your archive with "Recovery record" and strong password protection. Of course, always have a fresh backup, and if you make several backups, be sure to label them properly. For those willing to experiment, I recommend installing SVN: a full-scale versioning system that can be used as a backup solution in multi-user working atmosphere.
4. Use UPS
UPS is a device that gives your PC additional electricity during outage. It also protects the computer from fluctuations in electrical power and from electrical shock. In the worst scenario, you will have enough time (minutes depend on the model) to save your work and turn off the PC. UPS devices are very affordable, but because they are so important, use only the best brands (for example, APC).
5. Use user account
We all have two basic types of accounts on our operating systems: a user and an administrator account. These two should be exactly what they mean. Do not use your computer in admin account, because in that way all programs will have permission to change important system settings that affect security. You are giving all the malware (viruses, trojans, worms) a green light to edit your most sensitive system files to cause damage - and this is, of course, something that you must avoid. Set up your user account in Control panel > User accounts and use it for everyday tasks. However, there is an unfortunate downside. High-quality software is made to work properly in multi-account operating systems, but what the author of this article discovered is that some versions of Trados simply refuse to work in user account. There were no problems with Wordfast, after some minor tweaks after the installation, though.
6. Get rid of junk
Be smart and do not compromise your work as a professional by using risky programs. Forget flashy screensavers, icons, animations and smileys: they are usually teeming with viruses, trojans and worms. Download all software from the publisher's site or the official download site. Scan your PC regularly for viruses and spyware.
7. Use Mozy (or similar service)
Mozy.com is a simple, affordable (or free, if you like, up to 2 GB) and secure online backup service. After creating an account on Mozy.com and installing the software, you can adjust the period for the backups to be created. The software will copy all the files you selected to a remote backup server in regular intervals. In case you lose your work, simply download your files from the secure server. Online backup is a must-have for serious projects.
8. Use RAID 1
This is something you will probably not be able do yourself; also, this is the most technically demanding item in our list. So, what is RAID? RAID is an affordable and smart way of backing up data in real time. You will need two hard discs of the same capacity, and when they are connected in RAID 1 mode, all data is simultaneously written on both of the discs. If one disc fails, the other should be intact and you can continue as if nothing happened. Please note that RAID support is not present in all operating systems. If you are buying a new PC, it would be wise to ask your vendor to set up RAID1 for you and take care of all that is needed for proper installation.