Reliance on the Web

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This morning I have been trying to enter some data on a web-based data program that enables me to produce Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) for Non Domestic buildings. This is a very time-consuming job and I find evenings and weekends to be a far more efficient time to enter the data (not sure my wife agrees though!)

As part of the process (in fact one of the first jobs) is to enter the address of the property. This has to be done via the Landmark database that has a UPRN (unique property reference number) for every property in the UK. The program I use Lifespan SBEM should link directly to the Landmark database and find my address for me in seconds. Unfortunately today it wont link! I am not sure if the database is down for maintenance or if it’s Lifespans fault. Whichever it is it is a problem – no one is available to report it to as it is a Sunday, so I have had to fudge the job which will require additional work and checking on my part.

The effect of data loss!

I am not happy as you can imagine! It has also set me thinking about how beholden we are to data kept either in the ‘ether’ or on hard drives somewhere. If you sit down and think about it this touches nearly every part of our daily lives;

At work all of our property data is held on a web-based server – as are most property agents details.

All bank details are held on a bank server.

Your details relating to your home, shopping habits, credit details etc – all on other people’s databases.

And that is before you consider what the Government hold about you!

This is not a whinge about personal data and our personal freedom – I accept that most of this data needs to be held about us, my concern is what happens when one small link in the chain fails. It can lead to a domino effect with lots of our data being inaccessible – or even worse lost for ever!

I suppose the moral to this tale is to hold backup data (lots of it) and have a ‘plan B’ in place in the event of a failure.

I am not sure how many of us are actually prepared for this eventuality?

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