Delete Sensitive Files

Approaches to Information Management

Susan would often return in her memories to the time after John’s death. She was trying to understand what she could do in order to prevent at least some of the situations she went through. She remembered her frustration when Amy and her would go through all the things at his home. They would feel like gold-miners, trying to find hints about anything that needed their attention. Her way to get over the difficult times was to laugh about them. She would often share a story about looking for computer files that would have an interest to be preserved. First of all, they found out that John didn’t have any system for organizing of his files. He was a good photographer and they wanted to keep some of his pictures. Luckily, his photographs were all together. In a folder called ‘holidays’ they found photos from his last trip to Paris. In one of them, his girl-friend was laying naked in an erotic pose on the bed of the hotel room.

Synchronization and Backups

Synchronization and backuping are equally important for our information stored in different locations and devices within our personal information space. Both should be performed periodically and can be scheduled for convenient times, for example, at night or as a background process while we are working. Even though these activities may be time-consuming, losing or being unable to retrieve the most current version of a single file, because we postponed these activities, may be very frustrating.

Synchronization is an important activity in order to prevent the existence of the same file, in different versions, across different locations. It is particularly an issue for people who use more than one computer and many other devices. Some devices are optimized to work together, others have to be synchronized manually. We should make sure that the respective information is always kept on the appropriate device where it is going to be needed.

Backuping serves to prevent the loss of our files from hot and warm regions and to archive the items in our cold region. We have some automatic tools that can help us to backup our computers, for example, the Time Machine in Mac OS X or the Backup Status and Configuration App on Windows Vista. But, similarly to synchronization, creating backups applies to many other devices, including cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players and so on. We should be cautious and anticipate the issues related to the file formats in which we archive our data. As technology evolves, the formats of our information become outdated. Even a minor change in a file format can seriously alter the appearance of the stored content.

For both synchronization and backuping, we have to consider whether we are going to perform these activities locally or use any of the wide range of web-based services. The physical media have a limited lifetime and they need to be exchanged after a certain period of time, because of their degradation or because their capacity may become insufficient. However, we can access them at any time and we don’t need an internet connection in order to do so. The cloud storage may be a reasonable way around, especially for our working information, since we can access it from any device we use and many of the backup services allow us to retrieve previous versions of our documents. However, it is not recommended for the storage of personal or sensitive information, as in some cases managing the privacy and security can be difficult, because the service policies change often and they can even disappear from the market without prior notice.