Look, I certainly hope you aren't waiting for me to tell you to back up your data. Bad stuff happens. It happens all the time. I've had Blue Screens of Death. I've had hard disk failures. I've had servers at work go belly up, with no warning. What has saved the day in each case? Backups. Things happen to good authors. Just this year, John Scalzi lost his laptop during his big round of travel for conventions/promotional tour for his latest novel: Redshirts. But John makes backups. So John was able to keep working. (Actually, John lost his laptop twice.) Just this week, Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinette) had water accidentally spilled on her laptop. She was able to keep working--because she performs backups.
Okay, strictly speaking, both of those authors could have kept working even if they hadn't had backups of their work. It just would have made a crappy situation all that much worse if they'd each lost even more work. As it is, even just a few hours work would be pretty annoying for most of us to lose. And I've done that by forgetting to save something routinely when a program crashed. So, yeah, that's a stinker. A good lesson you might pick up from both these fine authors, is that each has spare computing equipment ready to go. That's a sign of professionalism right there: not just making backups, but being prepared for BUSINESS CONTINUITY.
See, these examples highlight the difference between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. In a DR situation, you're covered. But you'd have to wait until you could purchase a new laptop, get it setup, configured, all necessary software installed, etc, and then restore your data and you're good to go. With Business Continuity, the idea is, something bad happens, you pick up your redundant hardware already set up to work (probably of lesser quality than your primary) grab your current files from the backup, and you're off and working again in almost no time. Both John and Mary show near perfect Business Continuity solutions in action. Sure, glitches happened along the way. BUT, the thing is, they were able to get back to work promptly. Business Continuity is about having what's absolutely necessary to keep going. Extras are nice, but shouldn't be a focus. The focus should be on the minimum to get working again as quickly as possible. The goal is to have everything you'll need for at least three times the estimated time it will take to execute your DR Plan. (Because things almost always end up taking longer than you expect.)
Disaster Recovery, in contrast, should be about everything you need to get back to square one. Top line equipment. All software and accouterments as previously configured. What counts as top of the line? Well, that's your call. It's your business after all. But you should have an estimate of how long it will take to replace your equipment (down to the last detail) including how long it will take you to obtain the necessary funds (if such aren't set aside). It's your call if you want to include estimates of things like insurance in the replacement time, which in my own experiences has been not an inconsequential length of time.
Now in your backup plan, and your BC and DR plans, you might choose to avail yourself of some Cloud services. That's a pretty sound strategy. From what I've read of both John and Mary's incidents, having stuff backed up online in such places as Dropbox, helped save the day, and countless hours of toil for each. But that advice comes with a big caveat. Things outside your control are outside your control! Really. Just recently, there's been news that Dropbox was hacked, and people were warned to go out and change their passwords.
And then there's THIS HACK.
No really, go read that. You should. It's kind of scary, and kind of important.
The lesson I take away from that is be careful of your assumptions. This poor guy may have lost all the photos of his baby daughter because he trusted them all to the cloud for backup. When the hacker managed to wipe out his backup account online, and his iPhone, iPad and Mac all remotely...well, that's just scary. When you trust everything to the cloud, you put yourself at a higher risk. Now I'm not saying trust solely in local hardware. That's not exactly practical either. There's plenty of good reasons to use and place a measure of trust in online environments as good forms of storage. I'm just cautioning, don't let guard down. Even if you avoid the "mistakes" Mat Hogan made, the biggest mistake he made was in trusting too much that the vendors he chose would be cautious, alert, and protect him. These weren't small start ups. These weren't tiny, fly-by night companies. These were among the big names in the industry these days. Amazon. Apple. If you can't be safe with them....you have to assume that no one makes you safe. Don't abrogate your responsibility. At the end of the day, it's your livelihood, not theirs.
Back up your data. Twice. Do it routinely. Do it to discrete systems. One online, one offline. One virtual copy, one physical, something you can touch and hold in your hand. Get the best of both worlds. Be prepared. Hopefully, you'll never need it.
So, how prepared are you to keep writing if you lost your PC, whether to damage, lost, stolen, or OS corruption?