1. Have printouts of all your digital photos
2. Keep disk copies of all your home movies?
Um, I’m not seeing many hands. And yeah, I’ll admit it—my hand isn’t up either.
I can actually remember when my family and I started virtualizing our photos. It was 2001, right before our first child was born. I believe we saved our photos for a while on disk…but then a few years later we had our second child. Busy with two kids, that laborious project quickly fell to the wayside. And home movies? Well, if we don’t make disks of the photos you can imagine we haven’t done it with the videos either (but at least there’s nothing important there—only my kids’ first steps and other such nonsense 😉 ).
I got to thinking about all this in the wake of all the horrible storms that have been happening across the country. Between hurricane Sandy and now the tornados in Oklahoma, people have lost everything–probably including their computer files. (By the way, you can help those in need by donating to disaster relief funds such as the one at The American Red Cross.)
What’s my point? If you don’t have a file backup process in place, you’re playing “data roulette.” And it doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as a giant storm that could kill your machine. The next hard drive failure, virus (although TDS can help keep that from happening), or even theft could mean you lose your precious files.
How can you protect your photos, movies and other files?
1. Backup your computer yourself. It is entirely possible to back up your computer at home if you have the right skills. Fortunately, I happened to marry quite a talented programmer/geek who knows all about these things. If you’d like to give it a go yourself, you can check out this wikihow about backing up a computer. Be warned though, if you’ve never done it before be sure to set aside chunk of time and get a spool of disks before you get started—you’re probably going to need both. Also, be aware that many home backup solutions mean your stuff is being stored on an external hard drive located near your computer. So, if your house gets hit by a disaster, your backup would be hit as well.
2. Get a backup service. If you’re not married to tech support and you want the most secure solution, this is a great option. If you’re a TDS customer, we’ve got our own Backup Online available. With our services and others like it, your computer is set to automatically back up so you never have to worry about it.
Of course, if you’re going to use a backup service make sure it’s a good one! You want your data to be stored in a safe environment—in terms of both virtual security and physical security. You want a service that has quality data centers, not just a hard drive in someone’s basement or a rack of computers in a retail store.
Good data centers are certified to withstand natural (and man-made) disasters. I’m probably a little biased, but I think TDS’ Backup Online is the best. It’s powered by F-Secure, and they’re an industry leader in remote file backup (seriously, the CEO was even named to the European Commission’s European Cloud Partnership steering board and one of their guys was just inducted into the Infosecurity Europe Hall of Fame so I’m not making this up).
Having a service like Backup Online is a case where clouds are good thing. Your data, since it’s living on a cloud, is quite safe and far away from your flooding basement, criminals, the latest virus, or your clumsy kid who just spilled juice on your machine. As Martha Stewart would say, it’s a good thing.