I had a really fun experience while visiting my mom over the holidays: we pulled out a number of old photo albums and I was able to show my daughter what Christmas was like when I was a little girl. As I was uploading my new holiday photos onto my computer, I wondered how she would be able to do this with her children someday.
I love my digital camera and take a lot more pictures than I used to. However, all of this convenience comes with some responsibility: you now need to make sure none of these memories are lost. I was reminded of the importance of this when my niece recently lost all of the photos from her first trip to Paris when the hard drive she had stored them on failed. Sadly, she did not have them backed up on any other device, so they were gone for good. In order to make sure your pictures (and other data) are safe and sound, you need a plan for data backup and recovery.
So in 2010, resolve to back up! To get started, here’s a guest post from Ian, my favorite “tech guy” (and husband).
The first step in creating a backup plan is making sure that it is painless. The more difficult it is to back up your data, the less likely you're going to do it consistently. Fortunately, there are many solutions available such as Time Machine if you have a Macintosh, or a Windows Home Server if you are backing up multiple Windows systems at home. Programs like these will automatically copy your data to another storage device (typically, another hard drive) automatically every night. They are pretty fool proof and you will be guarded against the possibility that the hard drive on your main system fails.
If you're doing something like this already, congratulations! You're doing much more than most, and this is a great first step towards guarding your digital life. However, have you considered what would happen to your data in the event of a catastrophic event, such as a fire or a robbery? Your photo albums aren't attractive items for thieves, but your laptop is. In our house, we've taken an additional step and have purchased an off-site backup service through a company named Mozy. For $4.95 per month, Mozy makes a complete backup of a single system's data every night while you're sleeping. Mozy also gives you the ability to recover any of the last 30 days worth of backups, so if you realize you deleted a file accidentally in the last month, you have the ability to recover it. Mozy also has a "try it before you buy it" policy, you can sign up for a free 2GB account to make sure you're comfortable with the service before trusting them with your backup. There are many other comparable services available, here is a link to a review of online storage services if you want to look at the other options available.
My backup plan really gives me piece of mind that I will be able to pass on my digital memories to my daughter. This year, resolve to back up your memories, and you’ll be able to enjoy them for years to come!
Ian Goodsell is a Senior Software Engineer by day, and tech guy for That’s Neat! Organizing by night. Check out his ramblings about technology and life at http://blog.iangoodsell.com/.