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Performance + Productivity
Contributor: ThinkFWD
Avoiding data disaster on the road

When business takes you on the road, your laptop can often be your life support. But what would you do if your laptop died? We offer up a few digital survival skills.

Microsoft sponsored content

Whether it's the ability to cultivate a business contact, ensure accurate company records or just keep you safe, reliable information can make or break your next trip. In other words, your PC data is priceless. You just can't afford to be without it.

Travellers are relying on accurate information to ensure their security, according to a survey by American Express. In an age when terrorism is a persistent threat to travel, who can blame them?

Most companies also have strict policies regarding the use of a corporate travel agent and company charge card, according to a Runzheimer International poll. In other words, meticulous record keeping is now more essential than ever.

Some 25 per cent of all business travellers miss having access to their internal company systems, British market research firm Continental Research recently concluded. It's not hard to guess why: having the latest information keeps them productive. Put another way, information is more than power. It's the thing that powers your business trip. That is why we have outlined the steps below to help you avoid losing one of your most precious assets while on the road.

Imagine leaving the office without synching your laptop and PC, wiping out days’ worth of work because you've neglected to install a backup system, or even losing clients because you've ignored the importance of good, reliable, actionable information.

Don't make these mistakes. Here are five tips to help you avoid a data disaster on the road.

Start every trip with a synch

Making sure your smartphone and PC are on the same page is pretty easy. Generally, you just slip your phone into its cradle and the computer does the rest. Synching one PC to another isn't as straightforward. Synching tools can be tricky, but they're definitely worth learning because once you leave the office, we can guarantee you'll be glad you updated your laptop. It’s worth investing in a cloud-productivity technology that will give you seamless access to all your email, documents, contacts and calendar across all your devices.

Back up your data

Memory sticks that plug into your laptop are absolutely essential to the integrity of your data. And with some units now carrying up to one terabyte of capacity, you can easily fit your essential files on it.

Andrew Steele, a media consultant to charities and non-profits in the UK, routinely does a double backup. It recently saved his trip.

"I had a laptop power supply fail," Steele recalls. "So even when the laptop battery was finally exhausted, I could carry on without embarrassment on borrowed machines."

However, if your documents are stored in a cloud file-storage solution, you can access it from any computer – even your customer's.

Stay in touch with the office

Cloud-based technologies will push email to your devices, provided you have set it up in that way. Otherwise, there are several useful remote-connectivity applications that let you connect to your computer or network from afar, including GoToMyPc, pcAnywhere and Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Connection.

Collect information – and back it up

Normally, road warriors are good at collecting business cards, sales leads and receipts. But does it always make it from their folders to their smartphone or laptop and back to the office? Not necessarily. Have you ever missed credit card payments or lost money because you couldn't get reimbursed for lost receipts?

Fortunately, there are now great mobile applications that allow you to create expense reports as you incur the expenses. You can even use your smartphone camera to take a photo of the receipt and save the image to OneNote in the cloud using the Office Lens app in the Windows Phone store.

When in doubt, switch to paper

This is an obvious piece of advice, but it's so obvious that we sometimes forget it's even an option. We've become so dependent on our PCs, phones and smartphones that we don't remember: "Hey, wait a second, I could still write this information down."

Sometimes printing out the names and addresses of people you need to visit on a business trip is the best safety measure. There are still some things paper can do that a PC can't – like operate without batteries!

Save time and money and make your business trips more successful by taking on these five simple tips. Here's hoping they'll save you a few headaches on your next business trip!

Content sourced from Microsoft Australia. For more information visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-au/business/

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