I just typed ‘broken’ into Google and it confirmed my suspicion.  Try it and you will see broken laptop comes in second ahead of both broken finger and broken heart!  So as I thought I have been lucky to as yet never suffer from a broken laptop.  Unfortunately I’m not so lucky on the other two counts.

It seems like broken laptops are all too common and I have been close.  I dropped mine once with a broken screen but luckily nothing more serious than that.  We do know many people drop and break them or spill their tea/coffee/water on to them, it happens all the time.  And yes for sure it is very annoying and can cost you time and money to replace.  But once you have had a near miss or a terminal laptop breakage you realise something much more significant.  And that is that you can’t always recover the content!

broken laptop; back up project files; data security

Does your risk register include ‘broken laptop’?

If it doesn’t then perhaps it should because the impact can be huge.  If all of your project documentation, plans, comms etc are on your laptop and you lose your hard disk fail you probably can’t get it back.  Just imagine the effect that would have on the project and the loss of control that would result.  If you are working on smaller projects and you are the Project Office as well then there may be limited opportunity to get copies of files back from colleagues.  And even if you can you can’t be sure about latest versions or establishing good audit/assurance.

Mitigation strategies

We are certainly not suggesting you should avoid having files on your laptop.  Your role as a PM may often involve travel to meetings, site visits etc.  You will need to have documents available for these.  Of course if you use a SaaS PPM solution like Live Edition then all your content is safe on-line.  With web access you can then just pull down and view or edit the files you need with the originals all safe.  You can do the same with YourPMO as an individual, giving you 100% confidence your files are held safe.

Other users should regularly backup their local laptop files.  If you are using something like our free Community Edition it provides an easy approach to backup.  If not you should look at some of the back up software that is available, including for free.

Don’t be that next broken laptop victim.

Hopefully you haven’t yet had a terminally broken laptop.  You can put some of this advice into action and save yourself the pain.  If you were already a victim then hopefully you recovered your projects okay.

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