When you are in a new company, know where your data is

When you start working with a new startup or any job you start with a company that offers to handle all IT for you. You are given shinny new access to accounts and logins, even your own monogrammed email address. All for your access to new channels and pools of content and communication.

All is good while you are learning a new intranet and filing new email into new folders on a new computer. All is good until you need to access this information for your own needs. I have seen a couple of points this year where it would have made sense to advise people to cc or forward or backup in some form you control key dates, letters and points of communication that relate to things like salary or deliverables.

I see this therefore as either a bit of life advice or a new business tool area. With some more thought I think you could use one of the current backup tools to help or one that is a little more selective. Maybe a Dropbox with a filter to move documents to it when tagged. Or just set up a throwaway gmail or similar email account and forward anything you want to back reference.

Advice comes around that in physical days you used to be asked to clear your desk and given a box should you choose to leave a company. Now accounts can be shut in minutes before you even have been told or see, meaning clear your desk can be just taking the empty coffee cup to the sink, unless you have ever done any printing.

Often shutting accounts or changing passwords is innocent. It does mean though, you don't get an hour or two to remember if you had party invite emails or contract document attachments in your accounts. So remember to not store or have personal chats that you want to keep.

I have found a client happy to add me to their email system but then when all contract talks then happened on the system, I had no reference for my accounts after the project finished. If you are a freelancer and a company wants to white label your skills, using a company account is fine. Just remember anything that mentions delivery or payment, sent to your own account too straight after. You do not know how many projects you will do with them and if a follow up pitch does not come in, they may want to wind up leaving you locked out.

After advising someone else on this I remembered to CC out invoices and sign offs before I needed to reference them a month later.

This works for decisions of SaaS services too that can be turned off, system corrupt or shut down when go out of business, outside your control. When you buy a SaaS tool, be able to back it up yourself too.

So remember to cover yourself with personal, distributed, work backup and not be left with questions for your own memory or a past client holding the cards and you have no reference.

Have you been struggling knowing what to do next?

Send me your suggestion, We can advise you on the best action.

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