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Jul 08

Don’t hide it under the bed! And other things…

I briefly attended the last meeting of the forum, and had to leave part way through an interesting conversation discussing how you look after your data, emails and printing.

It is still perceived that the best way to store something is put it on paper or disk and hide it. The more reliable way is to store it as data on line. I’ll go into the reasons why; but to do so I need to get you to change your perception of how your data is stored online.

It is not held on ONE disk or ONE hard drive nor ONE location, but instead broken up across several drives and locations, such that it can be reassembled from any one location should the others fail. In the case of some large corporates the data can be stored across countries. This gives your data the all important resilience that you cannot give it on paper ,or disk, or hard drive left lying around in your house, loft or filing cabinet. But what about security of content? Well most ‘data stores’ compress and encrypt to an encoding you set up to start with. So it remains totally private.

How does that compare with your disk or paper copy?  And how do you cope with entropy? A  10 year old floppy diskette or hard drive, or even a CD may not be readable – and that’s assuming you still have a device that it can connect to – or read it!.. How many p.c.’s do you see today with a diskette drive?

So why do we still hold on to data in the way we do? Possession – that’s why… If we don’t hold it tangibly then we perceive it as not ours or ‘we haven’t got it’. It’s exactly the same with printing.

But if you must print, why do we each have to have individual printers?

My offices had at one time 8 printers of differing manufacturers – each requiring a stock of drums, toner cartridges or inks… I was forever re-ordering supplies. I did an analysis of  what we were spending and went for one big printer for main use and kept one of the old ones for the accounts HR department for private use.

We bought the new big printer over a 3 year period – all consumables were free and we paid 6p and 0.8p per page colour or mono respectively. All servicing was free and billed quarterly for printing. It prints at 50 ppm and we can load it with 2 big boxes of A4 paper. We get through 4-5 of these boxes  each week. It has never let us down in 3 years use, change a cartridge typically once a month and it’s a breeze. I’m moving it to another location to replace it with another one, but this new one has a scanner head which can store documents online to where ever I choose..

You may like to negotiate a company deal to get such a thing with finance by Ian – a MBG and Forum member.

Any body interested in this article – I suggest you look at mozy.com for back up solutions online, and Konica-Minolta for printers..

My next article will be on Why use GMail? – Probably the best email service around… I’ll tell you for why soon…

Best Regards

Graeme Hird