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Ok, so you’ve just finished editing possibly the best wedding of your career. The location was awesome, the lighting was perfect, you had a photogenic, bride and groom and inspiration. You go to take one last look at your photos on the external hard drive and ……… Oh god, it’s disappeared. It won’t mount or load and there’s no power in the unit.
No problem as you backed up.
You did back up, didn’t you?
Did you remember to do it?
Fortunately for most of us these days we see the benefits to backing up. Most people will buy a backup drive or possibly use a cloud based service.
Trouble is how reliable are all of these and…. How many do you use? Do you backup online and offline? Everyone knows about cloud storage, don’t they?
Would it surprise you to know that most commercial disaster recovery (DR for short) plans include 3 levels of backup security?
Onsite, Offsite, Cloud
Why 3? Why the need for 3 backups. Surely this is not only time consuming but expensive.
Maybe…… But maybe the cost of losing potential clients photographs outweighs this.
Let’s look at the options
Literally, wherever you work, this is the backup drive you have onsite. Maybe a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive that sits on your network or a small external drive attached to your computer. The larger network drives tend to be RAID (Redundant array of inexpensive disks) – which essentially uses 2 or more disks in a single box to create a more resilient backup. Wherever you back up and it’s at your place of work, this is your onsite backup. (Don’t get this confused with your working drive if you store your catalogue on an external – this is simply a backup like a time machine for Mac or Windows backup for PCs.
Fast, generally quick to retrieve data from if your computer dies. Large sizes and certain drives and configurations available with redundancy and failover.
If your building burns down its gone. Large units can be expensive initially NAS drives can be slow if your network speeds are slow.
Literally a backup was taken offsite – either nightly, weekly or monthly this is normally a physical backup like a drive or a tape moved to another location. Big businesses do this on a nightly basis and historically someone was asked to take the drive or tape home that night and bring the previous nights back in swapping them over, with several tapes being in place e.g. Mon, Tues, Wed etc
Store large amounts of data offsite so that in the event of a fire or burglary your data is safe. Go back 7 days if you have 7 tapes/drives etc. Works well as part of a disaster recovery solution
Relies on someone to take it home and swap it over. Without regular integrity checks, the only way you’re going to know it isn’t working is when you need it to be working. Can be expensive and not designed to be the main backup solution
Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive, and Crashplan’s backup service. These are all backup cloud solutions. Normally incremental with history storage. Accessible from pretty much any internet-capable device, they require one large backup and additional small backups as time goes on
As long as your internet connection is live then it’s going to back up whatever you tell it to. Fast backup and restore of your backups if your internet connection is good. Backups can generally be accessed on different devices (including mobile devices) from anywhere. Hosted solutions like The Guilds backup service are stored in multiple datacentres in different continents giving near 100% reliability.
No internet connection =no backup. Large-sized backups are generally ongoing costs either per GB or monthly cost. Slow internet connection may mean it could take days to do the first large backup
So your solution should be a combination of all 3 ideally with no one solution working on its own but more of a combination of all 3.

Here are some links to some of the better solutions Dropbox – (Cloud-based backup online storage service) – (Raid enclosure and storage solution manufacturer) Drobo – (Raid enclosure and storage solution manufacturer) Sugarsync – (Cloud-based backup solution similar to Dropbox) Crashplan – (Free software for offline and offsite backup with a paid option for cloud) – Multimedia drive configurations – very expensive but also very very good