Storing your entire life in the cloud? Maybe not such a good idea.

We’ve gotten pretty lazy lately.  Well, let’s be honest. We’ve been pretty lazy for years. We rely on companies to keep our data safe, and for the most part we don’t even pay them.

There was a time when if you wanted your calendar and contacts kept safe, you literally had to make copies of them. Real paper copies. Like, you had a paper book of addresses and if you lost it you were up a creek. That’s why you had people who literally kept old address books in a drawer until they died.

Today you don’t have to worry about that stuff. If you have an Android or iOS phone, all your contacts and calendar data is backed up on massive servers and accessible from pretty much any device on the planet. It doesn’t stop there. You can back up your photos in most cases, too. Pay a few dollars a month for one of several services and you’ll get as much free storage as you’d need in a lifetime. All of it is kept in data centers and managed by professionals. You’d think you would never have to worry about having a backup, right?

Wrong.

What if you accidentally delete all your contacts? What if someone hacks your account and deletes them? Then again, what if there’s some really bizarre server problem and your stuff just disappears? It happens, really.

So don’t let it happen. No matter what you’re using, there’s a way to back it up. If you’re using Google Contacts, export them to CSV by going to https://google.com/contacts on a PC or Mac. If you’re using iCloud, you can export to a VCF file using icloud.com or if you’re on a Mac, using Mac OS Contacts. For those who store their contact information in Outlook, it’s very easy to export as well. Take that exported file, put it on a flash drive and put it away somewhere. Flash drives are cheap, and honestly you can get really massive ones now. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you do you’ll have it.

It’s also not a bad idea to do that whole export thing every 6 months or so, unless you’re locked up in a castle and haven’t made any new friends. This is the sort of thing that will really come back to save you because let’s be honest… you don’t know anyone’s email address or phone number, right? You know you don’t.

We all know someone it’s happened to.

You know you have a friend who reached out to you because they lost your phone number when they switched phones. You know someone who lost a whole bunch of pictures. Of course that doesn’t seem like such a big deal since we take billions of pictures a day now. But sometimes you lose a picture you really will miss.

The fact is it doesn’t have to happen to you. You can take the initiative to protect your data. You don’t have to rely on those cloud services. I’m not saying you should give up on the cloud. I’m saying it shouldn’t be your only backup strategy.

So take this tip and maybe you’ll think it’s a massive waste of time but then again… maybe just maybe it could be the most important thing you do today. I’ll grant, the world is an uncertain place. You may think that there are a lot of other things to worry about. But, think of how much more secure you’ll feel when you know your important stuff won’t be lost.

And of course, if you need the accessories to get that security, shop the great selection at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 7,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.