Backing up Your Digital Photos
So how important is backing up digital photos? Do your images really exist? If you really think about it, your digital files could suddenly cease to exist from an unexpected power surge, black out or hard drive crash. In a literal sense, they don’t actually exist in physical form, unlike your old negatives and slides. Instead, they are only 1’s and 0’s stored in “virtual” form on a delicate hard drive or memory chip.
This fragile nature makes it essential that you back up your digital files so that your treasured images will be around for future use. One way is to back up your files to DVD’s, CD’s or a USB drive, but this can be a labor intensive project. Plus, you still need to store the archived media someplace safe. But because of changes in technology and the uncertain archival nature of the media, you may find that your images are still not safe.
A mere twenty years ago the primary media used for external data storage was the 3 1/2″ floppy disks (up to 1.4mb). After that came the larger Syquest, Bernoulli, Zip and Jazz disks (up to 1 gb). Where are they today? Do you remember 8-track tapes, Beta-max, VHS and Compact Cassettes? They all now occupy a place in the same legacy “Phantom Zone”.
Here is what to do
The simplest answer is to store your images and other important files off-site in the “cloud”. This archiving method is ideal because it places your data at your fingertips anywhere you have an internet connection. It’s also easy to restore or download your files to a new computer, tablet or smartphone. This procedure backs up all of your important data incrementally so that any changes you make are saved as well. Best of all, the process is automatic and runs in the background, so you never have to “remember” to do it – it just happens!
Today’s operating systems in both the Windows and Mac environment offer built-in cloud storage. Check with your OS provider for the cloud storage options offered. Some imaging software providers may include limited cloud storage with their products, like Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Photoshop CC. Did you know that Amazon Prime includes a cloud storage account for your photos?
We use and highly recommend Carbonite On-line backup. Carbonite runs continually in the background, protecting new and changed files whenever your computer is connected to the Internet. You don’t need to choose which files to protect because every Carbonite Home subscription comes with unlimited backup space. Carbonite is designed to be easy to use, but if you ever have questions, their U.S. based support team is available to help. Best of all, cloud backup plans for a single computer are available for as little as $6 per month.