NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Technology is Susceptible to Errors

The NECC community got a hard reminder this week: like anything else designed and operated by humans, technology is fallible.  7,800 people were deleted from the school’s servers, causing a widespread loss of access to critical online services.  In the wake of electronic disasters like this, it’s easy to play the blame game — after all, this was a massive inconvenience for all involved.  Still, it never hurts to remain vigilant in the protection of our own information, and there are plenty of ways to do this.

If you want to make sure your email is backed up, for example,  you can actually drag and drop a group of emails from Outlook into a folder.  This will turn them into .msg files, which you can then reopen in Outlook later.  Setting a reminder to do this every week or so can ensure you never lose access to important messages or files contained in your student email.  There are also several online services that can keep your emails safe for you, such as Carbonite (available for $5 a month) and Drop My Email (as low as $1 a month).

It’s also never a bad idea to have your files stored in more than one location, whether that’s essay documents, class syllabi or PowerPoint presentations.

Here at the NECC Observer, many of our editors use Google Drive to store their stories “in the cloud” online for editing before they get printed — and that’s in addition to keeping the files on their actual computers.  Other cloud-based storage services include Dropbox, Apple iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive. External hard drives and thumb drives are also solid options.

If you’re feeling a bit old-school, there’s nothing quite like keeping a hard copy on file somewhere.  Folders, portfolios and binders can be a godsend for both organization and safekeeping — print more than one copy in case you lose one, too.  Even with all these safeguards in place, there’s no guarantee: as the saying goes, “s— happens,” and sometimes you really do have to start all over.

Still, having backups of your information significantly lowers your chances of losing important stuff in the wake of technological mishaps, and might give you peace of mind. Being a college student is stressful enough without losing all your hard work.