Have you felt it yet? That sinking feeling that comes when you realize all of your eggs are effectively in one basket? I’m talking about your “digital eggs”. If you’re like most folks, you have all of your precious photos of friends, family, and if you’re a pro even your client work stored one one rickety hard drive. And here’s the scary thing, YOUR-DRIVE-WILL-FAIL. It doesn’t matter which hard drive you buy, how much, or how little data you store on it… or even if you baby it by running drive maintenance software on it regularly. Hard drives are mechancial devices that have moving parts… parts that over time will wear out, and break. And if you haven’t taken measures to safeguard your data with a multi-faceted backup plan, when your drive dies — it will take your data with it.
Mo’ Data, Mo’ Problems
The really screwed up thing is that this problem isn’t getting any better for most people. If you’re an active digital photographer, you’re creating more data than ever before. Especially since companies like Nikon and Canon are producing cameras capable of shooting higher and higher megapixel count images, not to mention the space hogging high-definition video files that are becoming all the rage. Add to all of this your documents, email, software, music, TV shows, etc, and you have a recipe for a *really* bad (and expensive) day when all of that stuff goes “poof”.
Forming a Strategy
Now that I’ve defined the problem (and probably scared the crap out of you), let’s talk about solutions. It’s not really rocket science when it comes to protecting your data. The thing is, electrons (information), unlike atoms (stuff) can reside in more than one place at a time. This means, at its most basic, an effective backup strategy means — you guessed it — making copies. If you, at the very least, buy a second hard drive, and copy all of your data onto it – you’ll be ahead of most folks. But doing that, effectively only cuts your exposure in half… temporarily. You’re still exposed, becuase what about keeping those files in sync? You can easily make a copy, but then after you send and receive a day’s worth of email, add one CF Card’s worth of images, or download one movie… suddenly your hard drives are out of sync. And you’re back to square one. Well, maybe not square ONE, but you’re still not in an optimal protected state. As my friend Alex Lindsay says, if your data doesn’t exist in three places (simultaneously), it doesn’t really exist yet.
The true goal is to have a drive failure be a NON EVENT. If a drive dies, get stolen, or some sort of natural disaster claims your house (and your data) you need a plan in place so that you can easily get EVERYTHING back — with very little time or effort. Don’t worry, you’re not alone… EVERYONE has these problems, except the really geeky amongst us (don’t look at me).
In this series of blog posts, I’ll give you a solid strategy to help you get your eggs OUT of that janky basket. So you can finally sleep at night knowing that, barring some sort of cataclysmic event, your photos will remain safe and accessible.
- Introduction (this post)
- Selecting a hard drive solution
- Choosing the right backup Software
- “Cloud” or Internet backup options
- Pulling it all together – The Plan
Be sure to bookmark this blog, or subscribe to the RSS feed because over the next few days you’ll be preparing to do some much needed end of year (or beginning of year) data organizstion. So, let’s start the year off right, and build a solid foundation for your photo storage.
Note, though I am a Sr. Marketing Manager at Data Robotics, Inc. (we make the Drobo), this series will not be focused on any one product in particular, but rather the whole “Blueprint”. The hard drive solution, though critical, is only a piece of a truly robust backup strategy.