Imagine leading a webinar and all of a sudden your internet connection quits. Panic sets in and you’re hoping that everyone on the webinar doesn’t hate you. That happened to me and instead of panic my mind went to what are my options to get back on.
Luckily, I had backup systems ready to go. I have an iPhone app that directly connects me with my webinar service. The webinar system I use is Adobe Connect Pro… Boy am I glad that I had downloaded their app to my iPhone. The app allowed me to get back on the webinar quickly so that I could both view the PowerPoint presentation which I had previously uploaded (so I didn’t need my computer) and could continue leading the class. Phew. I fell in love with my iPhone after that. Yes, I’ve had my iPhone for over two years, but really didn’t appreciate it until it saved the day. I also had booted up my laptop when my internet connection went down, because I also knew that I could tether my iPhone to my laptop. Had I been really prepared, I would have had the laptop on ready to go. This is what I’ll be doing from now on for sure. I will also let all students know at the beginning of class that on the rare chance I get disconnected wait about 5 minutes to allow for me to get back on should I disappear.
Yes, Backup Systems Are Important
Too many people fall victim to technology failures. Well, as one beloved IT consultant has drilled into me (hence all my backups), “It’s not a matter if your computer, cell phone and/or internet connection will fail, get lost or die, it’s simply a matter of when.” I’m not sure why people don’t “get it” and plan for these times. Having a few simple backup tools and systems will save so much time, unavoidable headaches, and you’ll gain incredible peace of mind if you just put these things in place. Though I’m not an IT pro, I have gotten advice from more than one IT Professional that may serve you as it has me.
Stay Productive With These Basic Backup Systems
Here are the things I recommend doing for having your backups in place so you don’t waste time when systems fail and you remain productive. Remember I’m not an expert, so if you have critical information that needs backing up, please consult a recommended Information Technology Professional:
1. Please, please, please… have your cell phone contact database (phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, etc) synched to Outlook or on the Mac iCloud. This will make changing cell phone devices and computers very easy. If your phone gets lost or dies you won’t have to bug your friends and tell them you “lost” their numbers.
2. Want peace of mind even if your hard drive crashes? Back up to BOTH an external hard drive AND to an online backup system like Carbonite. My IT guy recommended Acronis to backup my hard drive.
3. Have more than one way to get on the internet. First, have your main computer hard wired to your internet. You may also want the ability to use your internet wirelessly, so getting a router with wireless capabilities set up would allow you to use the same internet connection with devices like iPads, Netbooks, laptops wirelessly. That being said if your internet provider service goes down and you rely upon it for your work or daily communications, you can always call your cell phone company and find out the options for either tethering your cell phone to your computer and/or getting their hotspot device. By the way, both of these options may allow for other wireless users to join in on your hotspot and get internet access using the cell phone system.
4. Have a laptop in addition to your desktop. Synch your important docs to your laptop. I use Windows Live Mesh (free) to do this. Love it. I understand Apple also makes this easy with their iCloud system. However, using “cloud based” systems is not my panacea. In fact, there is a security risk you take in using the cloud. Hackers are getting into the most secure sites. So you may not want to place your most sensitive documents on a web based server. Secondly, what if you’re on an airplane (without wifi) and you want to work on your documents? The only cloud you’ll be able to see are the ones outside your window.
Benefits of Cell Phone Tethering for Internet Access
The iPhone and other cell phones can be tethered to any laptop or computer and be used to acquire an internet connection. I waited a long time before I added the tethering plan onto my wireless service. It has increased my productivity immensely. Here are some benefits of tethering or having a personal hotspot:
Make use of the time during boarding on the airplane. While passengers are loading, you can respond to email on your laptop, place that last minute gift order, or make another set of plane reservations. Yes, you can do these from your phone, but it’s faster, especially if you just had to edit a document and send it over to a prospective client. What a great use of that time. Making money while loading.
You’ll save money by avoiding hotel wireless access charges. You’ll save time trying to figure out how to get on to their system. Also, you won’t have to go down to the lobby at odd hours to use their free access. Ahh it’s so nice to just tether and be online.
You can meet clients wherever you want and access the internet. You’ll impress them be efficient.
Using your cell phone as a hotspot means you don’t need a separate plan or device to access the internet. It will cost you with a higher priced plan, but it does keep things simple. In fact, my laptop has had trouble connecting to some hotel and friend’s wireless systems, but now with the ability to tether, I have a reliable backup that works really well.
What are your favorite backup systems and tools? Please share you wisdom and comments below.