A small percentage of Windows users have opted into the “Insiders” program which grants them early access to new features, bug fixes and content updates for Windows 10, which as I’m sure all of you are painfully familiar with now, updates very frequently. The object of the Insiders program is to “beta test” new updates to the operating system before they are pushed out to the rest of the world, presumably to catch bugs before they can affect the more than 700 million devices that use Windows 10. Well, they caught a bug, but not before it erased data on an undisclosed number of Insider machines.
What this means for you – Get backed up!
If you aren’t an Insider – you have to opt into the program – you only have to worry about fully tested updates destroying your data. I’m only being somewhat sarcastic here, as many of you have experienced some form of loss (data, time, monetary) recovering from the forced death march that is Windows 10’s update cycle, and at least one of my clients experienced a complete wipe of all of his installed applications, necessitating hours of reinstallation work. It’s important to understand that Microsoft, just like any company powered by humans, can and will make mistakes, and those mistakes will cause problems for you. Fortunately, you can counteract this uncertainty with a simple practice: back up your data. There are many options to choose from in this area – some of my clients only work on and store important data on a central server that is backed up, or, if that option isn’t available to them, they use some form of cloud backup, either self-managed or provided to them by C2. Just the other day I had a client suffer a complete data wipe (rare, but it does happen) due to a crashed Windows profile (possibly caused by a Windows update) but they were backed up right until the crash and were able to recover their data, albeit slowly. The backup paid for itself in spades that day, and saved my client from catastrophic loss.
Microsoft made a major splash a few years back when they announced that the NFL would be using the Surface tablets on the field and in the locker room for various aspects of team management. Up until now it really only caught the media’s eye briefly when commentators mistakenly identified the Microsoft tablets as Apple iPads, a stinging verdict on the strength of both Microsoft and Apple’s branding. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the Surface tablets were correctly identified this time at the recent AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos. Unfortunate because the Patriots were experiencing technical difficulties with the devices at a crucial moment in the most important game of the season. As you’d expect, the internet had a field day with this, even though the the technical difficulties were quickly overcome, and the Patriots carried on.
What this means for you:
Rather than taking an easy opportunity to poke fun at Microsoft as you might expect, I’m more interested in making sure everyone grasps the more important lesson here. Even though the Surfaces had become an important part of sideline operations during a game, the Patriots were able to keep moving forward with their critical processes because the Surface tablets weren’t a single point of failure in the complex workflow of team and game management. Are there parts of your business or organization that depend on a single point of technology that, if it failed, would prevent you from executing on critical processes or tasks? Always have a back up plan, both in the literal sense (as in: Back up that data!) as well as the figurative. Important presentation tomorrow that you’ve only stored on a single thumb drive and nowhere else? What would happen if that little thumb drive accidentally fell out of your pocket while you were on the way to the big meeting? When it’s game day, make sure you have more than one way to get the ball into the end zone!