After the hard drive on the laptop crashed, there didn’t seem to be a lot of room for worry. “No, problem, our company has automated backup.”

But as is the case in most Murphy’s law emulations, of course there was a problem. I don’t think I’m giving away any big secrets when I say that the automated backup at our company didn’t work.

“You haven’t had a full back up since Jan. 11,” the tech support guy said. This was about the middle of February; meaning about a month’s work had vanished into the electronic ether. “You must have stopped the backup.”

“Not 28 days in a row,” I didn’t.

Calls to various acquaintances who are familiar with technology brought only “Tell me about it.” “Take a number.” Ironically, I was working on a story about data security.

Questions quickly revealed that I was far from the first person, nor was this the first company where what seemed like rock-solid data protection didn’t work as promised.

Backup, disaster recovery, identity theft, data security, all of those things that the layman lumps under security just don’t get any easier. Data is floating around the atmosphere on Wi-Fi systems. It’s rolling around briefcases on disposal USB drives. And of course, there’s the usual array of hackers, theft, mistakes and sheer stupidity looming in the average office that makes preventing the loss of information an effort that requires eternal vigilance.

So we mirror drives, create multiple copies, mail things to ourselves and print, print, print.

There is no solution except there is no solution and keep assuming everything can be lost.

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