How to survive a computer failure, corrupted hard drive or any other hardware breakdown

It’s your worst nightmare, and we all think (hope!) it’ll never happen to us. But what would you do if your laptop failed tomorrow?

Nobody wants to think about worst case scenarios in their freelancing work, but equipment failure can cause huge problems.

Laptop died = missed deadline

Take the freelancer whose laptop stopped working suddenly, meaning they missed a deadline. Even though they recovered as much work as they could, and managed to transfer to a new machine, switching to a new environment had its issues. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

In the end, the client lost patience with the freelancer’s sudden inability to hit their deadline, and although the work was completed, they demanded £5000 to cover the extra costs they’d incurred due to the delays.

Luckily, as the freelancer had professional indemnity insurance, they were covered. This meant they didn’t have to deal with the client directly and they weren’t personally liable to pay any funds to the client – everything was handled by the insurer, making the whole situation a lot less stressful.

Preventing hardware challenges

As you’ll often hear me say, prevention is better than cure. If you take some time to think about what could go wrong in advance, and make some simple plans, equipment failures are less challenging to deal with.

Think through a handful of ‘worst case scenarios’. What would you do if those things happened? How could you reduce the disruption to your work?

If you write a plan of action for each scenario now, it’ll save you pain and heartache down the line. This is one of those boring tasks that seems like it’s not worth doing. Except when things do go wrong and you’re too panicked to think straight, you’ll be glad you did it.

Disaster recovery plan

Essentially, what you’re creating here is a disaster recovery plan, which will provide you with some clarity in a tricky situation. Imagine if every business had gone into 2020 with a plan for how to handle things in a global pandemic. The idea sounded far-fetched, but it was something worth planning for.

Even if you only plan for more likely scenarios, you’ll be ahead of the curve when the next disaster happens.

Working through what could go wrong can help you put in place strategies to cope with any eventuality. It goes without saying that you should have a backup of all your work, but do you? What if your computer fails? Do you have a spare you can use, or do you know how to quickly hire one?

Data recovery as standard

If the worst happens and a corrupted drive means you lose a client’s work and can’t retrieve it, are you covered for that? Your contents insurance should include a data recovery clause (if you get your insurance through With Jack, it does). This one’s important, and I’ve written more about it here.

If your data can’t be recovered, and a client is looking for compensation, professional indemnity cover is what you need to have in place.

Of course, you might make it through your entire career without losing a shred of data. But when I worked as a freelance photographer, I slept better knowing I was covered. Maybe you would too?

We asked ourselves one important question…

What do we want out of an insurance provider?

With Jack is the answer