Before I get into photographic topic, I would like to talk about something that as a technical geek (My career was in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology) is near and dear to my heart. That is the need to backup not only our photos, but all important documents that you may have on your computer. Now this will be a little longer than my future posts, but it is an important topic.
Why should I be concerned about my backing my Photos and other important documents?
Image you have been taking pictures with your iPhone for years and all of a sudden you either loose the phone or the phone dies. You may have been backing them up to iCloud, but you exceeded the 5GB limit and they no longer are being backup up. You just lost years of photos and memories.
You have all your financial information on your desktop/laptop and one day you cannot boot the computer. Your local geek then tells you that your hard drive failed and it cannot be recovered.
Well how long will a hard drive last?
Well if you have a traditional Hard Drive, which you usually find on Desktops and some cheap laptops. These drive have moving parts that will fail over time. How long, on average about 80% of these drives will last 4 years. But if they are a lower price drive, that could drop down to 2-3 years.
If you have a Solid State Drive or a Flash Drive, while they do not have moving parts they still can fail. Most of these drive come with a 3 – 5 year warranty and could have a life beyond that. But they are electronic and electronics can fail without warning.
So what should I be doing now?
The rule of thumb for computer is the 3-2-1. The 3-2-1 backup rule is an easy-to-remember acronym for a common approach to keeping your data safe in almost any failure scenario. The rule is: keep at least three (3) copies of your data, and store two (2) backup copies on different storage media, with one (1) of them located offsite
Why do I need a backup offsite?
Offsite backups serve to protect us from the imperfections of the world around us. They help us in preserving our physical and technical storage space, give us protection against a complete system crash or hardware failure, and help us regain our data in the event of a breach. It also means that you can recover you data no matter where you are when disaster strikes.
So what are my 2 local backups?
Well the first one can be your phone or computer hard drive. Now you may not think of this as a backup, but it is the main storage for any of your data. They not only contain all of you data, photos, financial, etc. but also it hold the operating system for the device, IOS for Mac and IPhone users Windows10 or Android as examples. It also contains all the program files that you need to run an application, camera, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
The second backup can be any external device that is connected to you main device. For desktops/laptops you can purchase an external USB hard drives that hooks up to the computer. You can purchase a 2TB drive for less than $100. For phones, you can use the same hard drive that you use for a desktop/laptop with a special cable that converts your phone plug to the USB. Average cost for this is around $20.
OK, so how do I do an offsite backup?
Well this is very easy as you can do this in different way. Some people may think of offsite as storing the backup on the cloud. While that is the ultimate in offsite backups, it is not requires. When you create you external backup like above, you add an additional external drive and make a second copy of the data. You then take that second external drive and move it someplace away from you location. That could be bring it to your office, bring it to a family member, store it with a trusted neighbor/friend or put it in waterproof safe and bury it in the back yard. (Ok that last one may be impractical, but you get the message).
So what programs do I use to make these backups?
If you are using an Apple device, there is a program called Time Machine. Time Machine works whenever the Mac is on. With Time Machine, your Mac keeps hourly backups for the previous 24 hours, daily backups for the previous month, and weekly backups for all previous months, until the Time Machine disk is full. ... Time Machine works with external hard drives.
For Windows devices you have Windows Backup that comes with Windows10. While not the best backup program, it is easy to use and comes with Windows. There are also many backup programs that can be added to Windows that give you more features. Additionally there are programs that will back up your data not only to an external device but also to the cloud. These programs can run anywhere from free to a couple hundred dollars a year.
Now if you decide not to backup any data, just keep this in mind. There are companies that will try to recover any lost data on a hard drive. Expect to pay between $500and up for an attempt. I say attempt in that they may not be able to recover everything. Mac books could be a little cheaper, but still in the $500 to $1500 range.