Most of us have experienced that sinking feeling which comes by hitting the NO option when saving, or even saving the wrong version of a document instead of the one we need. Fortunately, most of these incidents are relatively inconsequential, representing only a few minutes of lost work or the deletion of unnecessary files. However, sometimes the cost of lost data is substantial. A recent study, for example, has estimated that a company that experiences a computer outage lasting for more than 10 days will never fully recover financially and that 50% of companies suffering such a predicament will be out of business within five years.

Of course data loss incidents can be hardware- or software-related. Software corruption, which might include damage caused by a software diagnostic program, accounts for 13% of data loss incidents; while computer viruses account for 6% of data loss episodes. Theft of hardware, especially prevalent with laptops, accounts for 9% of data loss incidents.

It's obvious, then, that we should all invest in technologies that can reduce the possibility of data loss. Excel 2010 offers a secure platform to present sensitive information such as budgets, financial targets, projections, and salaries. And with the built-in tools to protect your data, it's easy to prevent anyone accessing your data - or even just part of your worksheets in one file.

Excel 2010 gives you many layers of control over what you can display and what you can restrict. You can lock individual cells so that they can't be changed; or you can password protect a worksheet or an entire workbook. You can also encrypt a worksheet. Whatever you need to do, you can choose many layers of protection - or just one. You can even protect your worksheet with passwords.

Excel 2010 can even recover versions of files that you closed without saving. This is helpful when you forget to manually save, when you save changes that you didn't mean to save, or when you just want to revert to an earlier version of your workbook. AutoRecover will save versions while you are working in your file at the interval you select.

Now, you can choose to keep the last autosaved version of a file in case you accidentally close that file without saving, so that you can restore it the next time that you open the file. Also, while you are working in your file, you can access a listing of the autosaved files from the Microsoft Office Backstage view. However, you must have Save AutoRecover information... and Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving enabled for these features to work.

For even more protection, the Protected view allows you to make more choices about what you open and don't open. By default, documents that originate from an Internet source are opened in Protected View. When this happens, you see a warning on the Message bar, along with the option to enable editing. You can control which originating sources trigger Protected View. You can also set specific file types to open in Protected View regardless of where they originate.

And the trusted documents feature is designed to make it easier for you to decide whether to open workbooks and other documents that contain active content, such as data connections or macros. Once you confirm that active content in a workbook is safe to enable, then you don't have to do this again. Excel 2010 remembers the workbooks you trust so that you can avoid being prompted each time you open the workbook. Now all that's left for you to worry about is making sure the dog doesn't eat your data pen.