The Cloud Is Your Friend

A friend and fellow copywriter who has been freelancing about the same amount of time as I have posted the following update on Facebook a couple days ago:

Crap, someone broke into my office this weekend. All of my computers… stolen. Backup hard drive, gone. 7 years of work, swipe files, gone. Devastating…

I feel really bad for my friend. I can’t imagine losing that many years of work.

The hardest part would be losing any projects that were still “in progress” because you’d have to start over and negotiate a new deadline.

About three years ago, I began doing more of my writing work on Google Drive (Google Docs back then). I did this partially to protect my work and partially to make it accessible from both my iMac and my old Dell laptop.

Then about a year ago, I got a SugarSync account and hooked up all my different computers to it. Backups happen automatically anytime any files are added or updated. And I can access my files from any computer no matter where I am.

This has given me greater peace of mind.

I don’t have to worry as much about what could happen to my computers.

The two scenarios that concerned me the most were:

  1. My hard drive crashing and the data being unrecoverable.
  2. A house fire that completely destroyed my computers.

I had not considered theft until now.

I work in an office, too.

The door to my office is locked (as are all the others in the building), but the doors are flimsy.

Fortunately, we have security cameras in the building and parking lot so any would-be thief would probably be identified and caught relatively quickly.

And with the exception of my computer and my business books, I keep nothing of value in my office.

But theft is still a possible scenario to plan for as my friend’s experience demonstrates.

Anyway, if you haven’t backed up your files in the cloud, you really should. You never know when something unexpected will happen.

I personally use a combination of Google Drive, SugarSync, and Dropbox.

Good luck, and keep your data safe.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

John Breese - January 30, 2013

Thanks God that has NEVER happened to me…I have no idea what I’d do if I lost everything on my computer.

    Ryan M. Healy - January 30, 2013

    No kidding.

    For me, losing all my work documents would be bad enough. But if we lost all the digital photos of our kids, that would be worse.

    That’s why I backup all my computers to SugarSync, not just my primary work computer. :-)

Jon McCulloch - January 30, 2013

I use Dropbox — all happens as if by magic. Can’t fault it.

As for the office, it’s in the house.

Behind the dogs, the alarm system, and me with my rifle and shotgun. And Mrs EBG with her pickaxe handle.


Angie - January 30, 2013

A few years ago my computer died. I lost everything – docs, photos, software – everything just gone with a two second flash and a loud fizzle as my hard drive keeled over and had a fatal heart attack.

I learned my lesson fast. All my documents are now started and processed in google docs, and then a copy transferred to a word doc if someone needs them in that format. And everything on my laptop is saved automatically by LiveDrive.

It’s a heartbreaking lesson to learn when you lose important work and irreplaceable photos in the blink of a computer screen. I suggest anyone who is still hesitating about using ‘the cloud’ to back up everything learns from my stupid mistake, instead of waiting for a mistake of their own.

    Ryan M. Healy - January 30, 2013

    Angie – That’s terrible. I was afraid that would happen to me. I’d already had issues with my PC when I began moving everything to the cloud. As you recommend, better to just “bite the bullet” and get all your stuff backed up before something happens.

Wayne Buckhanan - January 30, 2013

I just had one of my desktops stop booting. The only thing that I “lost” was use of a couple windows programs. I already use too many devices in too many places to rely heavily on any single piece of hardware.

I’m getting more serious about the whole idea of a “virtual desktop” for the few windows specific apps I’ve got. I’m testing some self-hosted solutions for CRM/CMS (including a potential alternative to G having all my docs in Drive). Considering you can get a VPS account for something ridiculous like $100 per year, I’m beginning to take the “privacy tax” seriously when using new cloud apps.

And, of course, with Amazon’s new “glacier” storage at a penny a month per Gig, there’s no reason not to have all the archives of images and things off site.

My only “trouble” lately is keeping track of which device I was working on when away from the cloud — I know I just had a brilliant idea and I even “wrote” it down…now where did it get stored?! (Phone, ipod, netbook, laptop, desktops, tablets, …)

I know, I know, first world problems!

    Ryan M. Healy - February 9, 2013

    My only “trouble” lately is keeping track of which device I was working on when away from the cloud — I know I just had a brilliant idea and I even “wrote” it down…now where did it get stored?! (Phone, ipod, netbook, laptop, desktops, tablets, …)


    That’s the nice thing about using Google Drive for written documents. You can pretty much find any notes you’ve written from any device.

Jimmy Sansi - January 31, 2013

Man… don’t ANY people print out hard copies of things like customer lists? Not many thiefs are going to steal paper and ink.

I guess coming from tech I am jaded because all of these risks are mitigated.

Paul - February 9, 2013

Wow…you are using all three. Which one is best or do you backup and save everything to each one. I have a home office but theft is a big concern for me. Desktop, laptop, ipad, printers etc. Those can be replaced but my data is what I am worried about.

    Ryan M. Healy - February 9, 2013

    Each has their strong points. If you’re looking to strictly back up your data, look at SugarSync or Dropbox. Both are great services.

    SugarSync has what they call a “Magic Briefcase,” which operates the way Dropbox does. And you can still login to SugarSync from any computer and access files on any computer you’ve backed up. There’s a SugarSync app, too, for backing up photos and videos you take with your phone.

    I use Google Drive mostly for writing and sometimes for spreadsheets. I can open the documents on a PC or Mac with no compatibility issues. And I can easily collaborate by sharing the document with other people.

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