Where are you keeping those precious photos?
Most likely you are like most people, they are in “the cloud” somewhere, thanks to Apple. Then there’s those computer files that you may not be able to do without. They are hosted in One Drive or Dropbox, right?
So here are your options for backing up your files and then I’d like to recommend what I think is the best option!
OPTION 1: Backup your photos and files in the cloud. This is a pretty simple solution these days, and it’s cheap! Have your files automatically sync to One Drive (Microsoft), Google Drive, Dropbox (owned independently), iCloud (Apple). They are all pretty much the same, other than the amount of data they let you store for free and how many computers you can have logged into your account. Dropbox, for instance, only lets 3 computers sync the same files and probably allows the least amount of data for free.
If you have an iPhone, you probably know that your files are automatically being loaded to iCloud as a backup. But once you take up 5GB of pictures and videos, they will charge you.
OPTION 2: Backup your files on a local computer, external hard drive or flash drive. You can buy an external device that plugs into your computer and have things backup to it. There is a little learning curve to setup some of the devices, but they are fairly cheap and will keep your backups in your possession.
Storing things at home has its benefits I suppose. There is always a chance of a data breach or a server loosing your data in cloud storage. Some people are also concerned with data security, which this would take care of. But honestly, I think the chances of my drive failing (which they eventually do!) or my house catching fire (less-likely…but) is probably more likely than my data being stolen or lost in a data center. You can weigh these risks.
OPTION 3: A bit of both and my recommendation. Using a cloud service for files and then using a local drive to backup your photos. Since photos take up so much space, I don’t think we want to pay for this in the long run. You can periodically download your iCloud photos (once a year, maybe) to a local external hard drive and then keep a second copy on a USB flash drive.
Here’s the thought on this. Spinning hard drives are cheaper but will fail! Usually in 5-7 years. Flash memory (USB flash drives) will also eventually fail, but not as fast as a mechanical spinning drive, and are more expensive per GB. You should always have your files backed up in 2 or more places. So having 2 copies, one on flash and one on mechanical, is the best bang for your buck!
There are lots of drives out there. Western Digital, SanDisk and Synology are good names. Seagate also has some good products too.
What inspired this article today was the deep discount on one particular product that is an external hard drive but is also wireless and can be accessed outside your home. In essence, it’s your own cloud storage device. You can backup your files wirelessly from several laptops or desktops, iPhones, etc. and be able to access these files while you are out and about!
No, I don’t get commission for selling these. I just think it’s a good product. But today only you can save $80 on them!