Imagine experiencing a catastrophic event that destroyed all your digital media. Hard disk failure, house fire, burglary, whatever, once it's gone, it really doesn't matter what happened. It is all gone.

What's the real loss? Your movies can be replaced, expensive sure, but replaceable. Same for your TV Shows and your music and anything else that you purchased in the first place. But your photos and your home videos are a completely different story.

You may have some of your photos in paper format in some old photo albums, but all your digital photos are gone forever. Your home videos can never be recreated. This is where the word catastrophe really applies.

Introduction

When it comes to organizing and protecting your digital media there are two different degrees of protection. Your personal media (photos and home videos) deserve the highest level of protection and your commercial media (movies, TV Shows, music videos, and music) can get away with a little less protection.

Protection is not free. Space on the cloud costs money. Hard drives and DVDs cost money. You are looking for the best protection and the most cost-effective solutions.

Backup Strategy

Backup, backup, and backup is the name of the game. All your originals on your hard drive. One copy in the cloud and one more copy on a different hard drive or a separate set of hard drives.

Cloud Storage

Of course, you can always decide to back up everything to the cloud but there are some considerations.

  • Space on the cloud costs money. Some of the most popular cloud services offer a certain amount of space for free but when you exceed the limit, the cash register starts ringing.
  • Some cloud services will not allow you to store commercially generated media files like movies and TV shows. Even though you have purchased these files from reputable sources, and you own them, the cloud service doesn't know that for sure. So, to combat piracy, they simply do not allow you to use their storage for these types of media.

Hard Drives

There are two basic types of hard drives, internal and external.

Internal Hard Drives: These drives are designed to be placed inside your desktop computer.

  • PROS
  • Internal hard drives are usually less expensive than external drives

  • CONS
  • Not portable, you must open your PC, install, and configure

External Hard Drives: These drives are designed with their own external case and they use a USB cable to attach to your PC.

  • PROS
  • Portable, you can easily move your storage from one PC to another. They are great for laptops.

  • CONS
  • Cost more than comparable internal drives

Backup Software

Most of the cloud services and hard drives come with their own backup software. Additionally, there are numerous other software packages available from third-party vendors.

Try out the software that comes with the storage product and see if it does everything you want. You will be happy with what they have already provided you. But if not, shop around.

Backup Strategy

Backup, backup, and backup is the name of the game.

In the center of the diagram if your local media folder structure on your local hard drive. The top three folders, Movies, TV Shows, and Music are shown being backed up to a 2nd hard drive. Ideally, this 2nd hard drive will be located at a different location as the local hard drive. That's in case of that catastrophic event like a house fire. However, most of us do not have access to a hard drive located outside of your house so the 2nd choice would be a different computer in your house.

The bottom two folders, Videos and Photos. Are also backed up to the 2nd hard drive but they are also backed to the cloud. Now you have three copies, 1) The original local copy. 2) the second hard drive copy and finally, 3) the cloud copy.

Cloud Storage

Here are five of the most popular Cloud Storage Services.

These are the top five but there are many, many others.

Some of these cloud storage providers offer a lifetime membership. Personally, I am hesitant about the lifetime membership because I have seen a lot of different companies come and go. I am not saying they are bad; I am saying that you should use your own discretion if you go in this direction

๐Ÿ˜Ž WordCutter: Personally, I like Google Photos. It is designed for photos and has a lot of features to help organize your photos. My 2nd choice is Amazon Photos. Again, it is designed specifically for photos.

Hard Drives

There are two basic types of hard drives, internal and external.

Internal Hard Drives: These drives are designed to be placed inside your desktop computer.

There are numerous hard drives available. Some are designed to be extremely fast and allow you to play your HD movies without a glitch. Others are less expensive and are designed to store data. Here are some popular hard drives. Click in the image to get the prices and details.

๐Ÿ˜Ž The HomeMedia Guy: As always, shop around and pay attention to the comments and rating by people who have purchased the same thing.

External Hard Drives: These drives are designed with their own external case and they use a USB cable to attach to your PC.

๐Ÿ˜Ž WordCutter: Keep in mind that the data storage size of the backup is fixed, and the size of your photo library is not fixed. Your photo library will grow and grow as time goes by and you need to get enough storage to accommodate this growth. If you are going to make a mistake in judging the size you need, make a mistake on the larger size. Once you have started protecting your photos and home videos, you may decide that you have some other digital stuff you want to protect also. Bigger is better.

Backup Software

๐Ÿ˜Ž WordCutter: I use a backup or more accurately a copy/sync software called SyncBack which I simply like. I like it because it really allows me to really control what is or is not backed up. It has sync, mirror and backup functions and it is very friendly to use.

Every step of this backup process can be automated but there is no substitution for your own involvement in the process. What I mean by your involvement is that you need to monitor the process routinely and make sure things are happening as planned, as scheduled, as you want them to happen. If you set everything up and then just let it run for weeks and months without checking the process, you may be in for am unwanted surprise.

Conclusion

I cannot emphasize how important it is to protect your media. At the top of this step, I placed a quote, and it directly applies to your media library. The day will come when something crashes your media library, and you need to be prepared for that day.

Just sayin'

ITEM: Automated Backups

I love automated backups. Set them up and forget about them.

How often should I backup? How fresh is your data? If you have not updated anything in your data for the last month, then monthly backups seem reasonable. If you are updating the data daily, then daily backups. If you are updating your data hourly, then, yes, back it up hourly. When you are working on a document, how often do you save it? It's the same theory with your backups.

But then one day I had a hard drive fail and I went to the backup and discovered that it was corrupted, unusable. Thank goodness I did have a secondary backup of the same data. Without the secondary, I would have been dead in the water. My point here is that you must periodically test your backups and make sure that they work.

How often do you test them? How much data do you want to risk? I test mine monthly and if I run into a catastrophe, I have all of the data since the last backup at risk.

CONCLUSION

Think about it and you will find your own scheme for backing up your data. One shoe does not fit all.

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