The Power of Online Backups

March 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

"I'm in the business of creating photos and telling visual stories, so I don't care about backups."

If you've ever heard this or something like this from a photographer you've hired, I'd consider going with someone else.  That individual may create the best-looking photos in the world, but with an attitude like that, I'd be hesitant to hire that person in the event that something fails.  Let's not kid ourselves - photographers aren't necessarily specialists in technology; I create photos because I enjoy making them.  I tell stories because I enjoy telling them.  Whether it's for me or for others who decide to hire me, why should I care about making backups?  

Because things go wrong.

A little while ago, a large fire broke out in my neck of the woods - about 10 miles from where I lived.  It was consuming quite a bit of forest land and took a little over 400 firefighters over the course of about a week to contain and subdue this fire.  Thankfully, given the amount of destruction done to the surrounding forest, and due to the hard work of the firefighters working around the clock, no homes were lost in the process.  I think about what would happen if I lost my home in a fire.  What kinds of things/physical objects would I have the hardest time replacing?  You hear it time and time again from people who have lost their homes in natural disasters: physical items that represent memories and events that have occurred in the past.   

You would hear, "I wish I could get the family photos back" or "I wish I could have saved (pet's name's) ashes" (I'm serious, one of the first things I would grab would be the urn containing my cat's ashes, but maybe that's just me).  The similarity here is for the most part, people would save the objects that have the most sentimental value to them, and mementos of family members and other loved ones are definitely that.  

In this day and age where items of sentimental value can be captured by a phone no larger than the size of your back pocket, what happens if that phone dies?  What happens if the computer you've backed up the data from your phone to, also dies?  What's the chance of that happening?  I'd say it's not a matter of if it happens or not, but when it happens.  This isn't doom and gloom stuff here.  It's a very real possibility.  

I was a computer tinkerer well before I had discovered photography as a hobby and subsequently a passion.  I was on the bleeding edge - I was the very first person I knew who owned a digital still camera.  It wasn't anything special compared to the digital cameras of today - in fact you could almost think of it as the throwaway camera of the digital era.  Despite what it could or couldn't do, I was able to make memories with it.  since then, Iv'e upgraded cameras several times, and each time, I've successfully captured memories in my life I'd like to look back on and remember.  Then one day, in a tinkering session, I accidentally wiped the data from the hard drive that contained all those photos.  I didn't have a backup of them, and lost them all.  I was devastated.  Half a decade of my life in photos, gone.  I couldn't afford a hard drive recovery service at the time (which are still insanely expensive) but looking back now, I wished I had backed them up to an external hard drive, the cheapest backup option at the time.  

"It's not a matter of if it happens or not, but when it happens."

These days, backing up your most prized data like digital photos should be a no-brainer.  External hard drives are really inexpensive.  That should be the bare minimum to do for backups.  For myself and my clients, I take it one step further.  I do offsite, online backups, or cloud storage backups would be another term for it.  The benefits of cloud storage are plentiful, and there are some cons as well, but for me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.  I've provided a list below.  Just something to think about for now.  In my next blog post, I'll cover the various cloud services I've used and give my opinion on which I feel is the best one.


Cloud Backups - Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
• peace of mind

• financial cost for services

• no/low management

• file restoration can be slow

• cost of several cups of coffee/mth.

• requires Internet connection

• backup all kinds of files

 
   

 


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