Do you sleep well at night? Unfortunately most of you probably shouldn’t, because your precious memories are vulnerable. I’ve read that most people simply don’t get around to backing up their files. In this case, like many others, good intentions are not enough.
While I suspect scrapbookers may have a higher rate of backup than most, you still might be wondering how to know if your digital photos are truly protected. Follow these three steps to ensure peace of mind.
Rule #1 – Get organized
How will you know what you’ve lost if you don’t even know what you have? It’s much easier to schedule routine backups if you know exactly where your critical files reside. Find a folder structure that works with you and keep up with the system. If you have prints or negatives, get them scanned.
Rule #2 – Duplicate (or triplicate)
Backing up doesn’t mean moving all of your most important files online or to an external drive. It means creating a copy of that file in the event something goes wrong. Sometimes one copy isn’t enough and you should consider a third way to keep the file safe.
Rule #3 – Think outside the box
In this case, the box is your home. In the event of a fire or other disaster, any backups inside your home aren’t going to help much. Secure your memories in an alternate physical location or online.
Backup Options Explained
Photo storage services: Membership sites like Flickr allow you to upload an unlimited number of photos and they promise to keep high resolution files secure forever. These sites don’t “talk” to your computer, so you are generally safe deleting files if needed (but remember Rule #2).
Online drive backup (not storage): Services like Mozy and Carbonite are newer solutions to the off-site backup need. For a small monthly fee, you can keep duplicates of the files you select on their servers. One caution though, this is backup, not storage. These services mirror what’s on your drive.
External hard drives: In these days, external drives are no longer only clunky boxes with their own need for power. USB powered devices are abundant and affordable. They work just like a thumb (or “jump”) drive, but can hold hundreds of GBs. You can even set up most computers to back up to these drives automatically.
Data DVDs: While use of USB drives is growing rapidly, preserving your data on a DVD is still a great way to keep an extra copy off-site. Use that DVD burner you forgot about to regularly create archives of your photography and scrapping. The send the disks to a family or friend for safe keeping!
Hard drives fail and really bad things happen. With active protection of your digital assets, you can rest easy knowing your memories are secure for future generations. What is your backup plan?