I’ve written before about how I have had to deal with a crisis – see my blog “Keep Calm and Carry On”.  Well, this time around it wasn’t a power cut that suddenly hit, but my computer decided to crash on me!  Now as someone who does all their work on a computer, this could have had major consequences for my business.  Not only could I have potentially lost all my files, but I wouldn’t have had anything to work on until I could get a replacement PC up and running.

So although I did panic initially when my laptop froze, switched itself off and then gave me the “blue screen of death” when I switched it back on again; I didn’t panic as much as I would have done if I hadn’t had a contingency plan.

So these are the tools that I had in place to get me up and running again in a very short amount of time:

Extra laptop:  Having an extra laptop to hand means that I can carry on working even when my other laptop decides to throw a wobbly!  However, this only helps if you can access your documents from it and they aren’t saved on the hard drive of the PC/laptop that’s not working.  So this is where the next 3  tools come in handy.

Carbonite:  An online back up system that backs up all the files on your PC in the cloud.  This means that you can access and restore files to any PC from your Carbonite account.  It costs about $50 a year and well worth it when you think about what it could cost your business if you lost all your important files!

Google Apps:  I’ve mentioned Google Apps before and I can highly recommend it.  By using Google Apps, I can access my emails and calendar wherever there’s an internet connection.

Google Drive & Dropbox:  I use Google Drive to store all my working documents so that I can access them from any PC.  Dropbox is also a very good alternative and I use it to share documents with clients etc.

Chrome:  My Chrome settings are synced so I can access all of my bookmarks and extensions just by logging into my Google account from any PC.

Lastpass:  I use Lastpass to store my passwords so they remain secure.  This means that I can log in to my online accounts and profiles from any PC using the Lastpass extension on my browser.

So by having the above in place, I was able to get back up and running very quickly and easily.  Now you may not need all these applications for your business but it does pay to have a back up plan in case anything does happen to your online files. So if you do the majority of work on your computer, then think about what you would do if something went wrong?  Do you have a contingency plan and if so, what tools do you use?

Valerie Eaton provides virtual PA and online marketing services to self-employed professionals who are feeling overwhelmed by their workload and want more time to focus on growing their business.