Security Corner

Mar 27 2013   2:27AM GMT

Are you personally prepared for disaster?

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

Doomsday Preppers is a popular (in some circles) American reality television series that airs on the National Geographic Channel. I’m not a prepper in the sense of that TV series, but I grew up with Scouting whose motto has always been — and will probably always be —  “Be Prepared.” That motto has served me well in my life and has given me a sense of the need to always stay one step ahead of disaster in all meanings of the word. While we in the IT world don’t always phrase it that way, I think it is a motto that we always embrace, consciously or unconsciously.

I saw an interesting video last week that promotes the need to stock up on 37 foods that will sell out quickly during a crisis. I bought the book (actually a CD with PDF files) and started to read it tonight. In the preliminary chapters, the author discusses the need for a “bug out” kit and what that kit should contain. I’m not going to go into great detail here, but I am going to mention that all of your valuable documents should either be carried with you or available in electronic form so they are accessible no matter where you happen to find yourself. Examples of these are:

  • Passport
  • Social Security cards
  • Bank account information
  • Deeds to your property
  • Insurance policies
  • Medical records and prescriptions
  • Driver’s license

You should do your best to keep all of these documents in a portable fire-proof safe that you can take with you if you have to evacuate. But, you should also scan every single document and store those scans on both a portable storage device and do one or both of these things with them:

  • Email them to yourself at a cloud email service such as Gmail,, Yahoo, etc.
  • Save them to a cloud backup service or cloud storage such as SkyDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc.

You never want to be at the mercy of a single point of failure, especially in an emergency.

Doomsayers may be a bit over the top sometimes, but there’s no reason you can’t exercise good sense and “Be Prepared.”

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