Technology is a wonderful thing, but not without its risks. An article on the NGS Upfront blog (the Upfront newsletter is now in blog format), "Set Your E-mail Free," by Editor, Pam Cerutti, reminds us that e-mail is at the same risk for data loss as social networks, photo sites, and blogs themselves. We've cautioned about these risks in several articles on GenWeekly. Backing up data has been our primary theme. Cerutti writes,
"You may have heard about Verizon's sale of its internet services in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont a few months ago. Some readers may even be the victims of the sudden switch of their e-mail addresses from verizon.net to myfairpoint.net. Neither Verizon nor FairPoint notified all customers in time to tell their family, friends, and business contacts of their new e-mail addresses. Many people not only lost all e-mail they had stored on Verizon's servers, but they also lost new messages that were sent to their void Verizon addresses. Furthermore, when FairPoint took over those accounts, their servers were initially overburdened, causing still more lost e-mail messages."
It's true. Companies go out of business. Companies are sold. Systems crash. What happens to your data is everything goes away suddenly? We hope you are 1) saving your e-mail messages (including contact information) and any documents or photos you may have received to your local computer; and 2) transferring whatever data and sources your have received to your genealogy software program . . . or are at least printing it all out. Then, if a company goes belly-up, you've at least preserved your data. But, as the article points out, there are other, equally important issues, that come with a change in your e-mail provider -- be sure to check it out.