Home Backup Solutions

If you have digital photographs and digital movies, then you need an on-line backup solution. Memories of family and friends are not things that you want to risk losing. Many of us are storing all of our images and movies on our computers and very few of us have a system in place to make sure they're backed up. Even those that do have a backup method in place, may still be leaving too much risk of loss. Here's what you need to know about other storage solutions.

Storage Solution

Risk

Stored on a hard drive

  • Hard drive failure. Hard drives do not last forever. Some last 1 year. Some last more than 5 but there's no way to know for sure. And every drive will die some time.
  • Computer Theft.
  • Fire or flood.
  • Power surge.

Copy files to second drive in the computer.

  • Manual process so you have to remember to do this.
  • Computer theft.
  • Fire or flood.
  • Power surge.
  • Increased hardware cost.
  • Second drive can also fail.
  • Can be long interval between backups

Copy files to second computer

  • Manual process so you have to remember to do this.
  • Computer theft.
  • Fire or flood.
  • Power surge.
  • Increased hardware cost.
  • Second computer drive can also fail.
  • Can be long interval between backups.

Copy files to a USB drive

  • Manual process so you have to remember to do this.
  • Cost of hardware.
  • Theft of USB drive.
  • Fire or flood damage.
  • USB drive can also fail.
  • Power surge.
  • Can be long interval between backups.

Burn files to DVD ROMs

  • Life expectancy of data on DVD media is unknown.
  • DVDs can be physically damaged (scratches, cracks) or stolen.
  • Slow backup process.
  • Only backups up 6 GB per disc and then requires manual changing of discs.
  • Can be long interval between backups.

The bottom line is that for a backup to be useful, it has to be done regularly and frequently and you have to be confident that it will work when you need to restore a file. The common solutions listed above all have some serious flaws. Most of all, they generally require you to do something to get the backup done which makes them inconvenient and less likely to actually get done. You need a solution that makes your data secure and does it without you having to think or do anything. An on-line solution gives you this solution.

On-line backup solutions mitigate all of these risks. Here are the reasons on-line backups make sense.

  1. They can be configured to happen automatically so you never have to remember to backup. It just happens.
  2. There is no new hardware to buy and usually no setup cost.
  3. There is a very low risk of hardware failure. Theoretically the drives that your data is stored on will also die some time. However, the data centre where your data is stored builds redundancy into their system so that even if a hard disc dies, no data is lost.
  4. There is a low risk of theft since your data is stored far away in a secure data centre.
  5. There is a low risk of fire or flood. The data centre where your data is stored is well protected, but even if it did have a fire or flood, you still have the data on your computer. You just need to find a new service and initiate a new backup.
  6. There is no risk of power surges. Data centres spend a lot of money making sure that the power coming into their data centres is clean and free from spikes and brownouts. They also have generators in the event of a power failure.

Finally, on-line backup solutions have gotten to a price where some of them are affordable for home users. It's a good idea to think of a backup solution like insurance. It's no fun to pay for it and you hope you never use it but if you ever need it, you'll be very thankful that you have it. Ask yourself how much you would be willing to get all of your photographs back if someone stole your computer. Then think about whether US$55 is a reasonable price to ensure that you never lose your digital photographs and videos.

We think that backups are money well spent and we use Carbonite Personal Plus to backup all of our family memories. It costs a little more at $99 per year but also backs up external hard drives which is handy if you've using external storage.