As a small business we are often running on the bare minimum of tech. We may have one computer and one mobile phone because that's all we can afford right now.
Quite often these devices are the oracles of our lives containing all our business and personal information. Information that would take hundreds of hours to reproduce, if that were even possible.
Some of us don’t have to imagine what would happen when, not if, these devices disappear or fail. Some of us have experienced total loss and some of us have been lucky.
Also, because we are nice people, we are often tempted to share our tech with the people we care about.
For example, technology is often used to placate children. Kids are offered smart phones and computers to play games while mum and dad get on with business, making dinner or whatever it is.
However, on a regular basis I am reminded of the importance of only letting the right people use my computer. These reminders usually come in the form of other people’s disasters that I am called in to rectify. You may, or may not, be surprised at how many of these scenarios start with "So-and-so was using my computer when..." If you only have one computer that you share between your business and personal life it can be tempting to give in to requests from others for access to it. Well meaning relatives and friends, your kids, neighbours and heaven forbid, strangers. If the contents of your gadgets are important to you then the simple answer is “NO". You don't have to be rude but you do have to be firm and resolute.
Sharing your tech is like putting three bullets in the chambers when playing Russian Roulette. It is also far worse than not backing up (which you are probably guilty of as-well right?).
Quite simply - don't do it!
It may sound harsh but I feel quite strongly about this. Sometimes we computer guys and gals just can't perform a miracle of device revival and/or data recovery.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting these people would do anything nasty to you on purpose.
That is a whole other level of pain.
I am talking about the things they do out of ignorance, the things that happen by accident and the things that looked like they were fun at the time...things that were even just "coincidental".
Friendships and families have been destroyed by something that was "always going to happen" happening to whoever you loaned the device to instead of you.
With the growth in online sales through tools such as iTunes you may not be surprised to hear of incidents where costly accidental purchases are made by people other than the owners of the computer. Guess who gets the bill? Guess how much sympathy you get? Guess what it says in the Terms and Conditions you signed up for when subscribing to the service! When you consider these sorts of costs, suddenly buying another computer, a "kids machine", a Nintendo, or whatever it takes to get them “off my box” doesn’t seem so bad.
Of course implementing appropriate backup strategies lesson these problems, but let's face it, no-one looks forward to the hassle of a lost computer regardless of how or why it happens. A byte of prevention is better than a Terabyte of cure. I had to say that and I’m not sorry.