Disaster! (and handmade pies)

What’s wrong with this picture?

Obviously not taken by a professional photographer … Yes
Shows how messy that corner of my office is … Yes!
Very boring subject because the screen is blank … Getting warmer!!

This is what happened after this laptop had locked up completely last Friday. The lights were on and no-one was home. The power light came on but no bios, no boot, no disk activity and nothing on the screen. After some quick diagnostics that ruled out broken screen or faulty hard drive or just dodgy internal connections, the conclusion was a terminal motherboard fault. It could be repaired but this is a 6 year old laptop so I decided it wasn’t worth spending the time or money.

“Whoa there” I can hear you say, “Isn’t that a bit presumptuous, shouldn’t you consult the customer first?” No need – this is one of my company’s laptops.

Now you are wondering how this can happen to me when I keep banging on about proactive managed IT services that are designed to prevent problems in the first place. Didn’t I protect our computers using the same technology?

The answer is yes. But none of that can prevent the “out-of-the-blue” hardware failure. They are not too common, there is usually some warning, but it can happen.

This laptop had my email, calendar and customer contact information on it and all my critical business documents like invoices and customer data. (Yes – the hard drive was encrypted – all GDPR compliant here).

What would you do if this happened? Scream? Pull your hair out? Have a heart attack?

You might be thinking that I am blogging about the nightmare, stressful weekend I had dealing with this serious issue. But honestly, my most stressful moment this weekend was trying to decide which hand-made pies to buy at Congleton’s Annual Food and Drink Festival.

I keep my stress levels down by having a spare laptop, and by using a combination of cloud-based services including business-class email/calendar/contacts, file sync/sharing and backup. After deciding the original laptop was no longer viable, I fired up the spare, opened Outlook to let it get updated with email, contacts and the latest status of by calendar. Then I fired up the web-based backup console to restore the few important files that weren’t being handled by the file-sync and share service, things like a couple of files I’d recently download and a few photos I was editing. By the time they were restored, my business documents were re-synchronised and I was ready to go.

It took about 30 minutes.

So that’s today’s lesson – if you don’t want to be stressed by your IT, prepare for the worst.

I lower my stress by using a mix of Microsoft, Google and other services on my laptops and desktops. But what I use may not be right for you. Get in touch and I can advise you on the right stress-lowering combination for your business.