Backup Your Data
You know you have to!
I've been asked several times recently about my backup strategy, so I thought I'd write a quick post about how my backups are handled.
OFF THE CAMERA
I have written a special piece of software that downloads the images of the CF card. It creates some working folders for me, separates out images that need rotating, RAW files from JPEGS and Movie files all to separate folders.
At the same time, it creates a duplicate of all these files onto a second internal hard disk. So straight out of the camera I have two copies of everything.
Every night I have an automated backup process that copies all files onto a second internal hard drive. This includes any images taken, plus any files modified. This is not just for images, this covers all business correspondences, emails, databases etc.
Backblaze is an off-site backup service offered out of the US. It continuously copies updated files from your PC to their remote server somewhere in America. It's $50 for unlimited storage space - which for a photographer is an absolute bargain.
The downside is that' its quite slow backing up the files over the internet, most days its up to date, but the initial load (of about 2 terabyte) took nearly 3 months!! But once that load is there it just chunters away in the background making sure everything is off site.
Once a month I copy everything onto an external hard drive, which I then take off site. These monthly backups are cycled, I always have three on the go, and over-write the oldest one first.
Every year, one of those monthly backup hard drives is retired permanently off-site.
In this way I can recover everything from today, last month and last year (even last decade).
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES
I have an external SATA plug-in connector. This lets you plug any barebones SATA hard disk into the socket and its instantly added to your Windows hard drives list. It's very simple, very easy. It's not the quickest of backups, since it runs over USB, but 2-3 hours is enough to backup all the modified files for a month.
I used to make DVD backups of a clients shoot, but found that with the higher res cameras I've been using for a while a single DVD is no longer big enough to cover a single shoot so I've dropped that now in favour of the dual hard drive approach.
If the machine breaks but the hard disks are OK then I can just swap them to another machine.
If a hard disk fails, I've got another hard disk duplicate ready to go from yesterday.
If the office catches fire, I've got the last months back up held offsite on hard disk and daily backups to backblaze.
If a customer comes back from 5 years ago wanting a reprint (yes it happens) then I've got the annual backups to go back to.
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