Have you ever been through a hard drive crashing and wiping out all your work. It is horrible, absolutely horrible. It is not a case of IF a hard drive fails, it is a question of WHEN it fails. Trust me, it will happen to you (I sincerely hope it doesn’t), this happens to everyone. You’re working away and all of a sudden BANG! All your work gone in a second.
Failing hard drives is not the only problem, those who run a small business, usually have all their computers, back ups, DVDs, CDs in one place of work. What about fire & theft. All could go in an instant. Can your business recover from this. Just like you have various insurance policies in place, Online Backup is your insurance policy for your most prized assets i.e your digital files. Lets take a closer look at this problem and some simple and affordable solutions for you.
Digital photography means you need to process all your images on your computer. While that may provide you with the benefit of minimizing your storage costs, there’s always a chance that you might end up with a corrupt or irrecoverable data. However you can minimize the chances of losing images simply by creating a back up strategy.
Backing up is very important as it can prevent you from losing very important data. Every now and then we see some photographer who has lost important data due to a crashed drive, theft, fire or natural disasters.
There are tons of ways to back-up your data. So we are going to go through the basic foundation of backing up your data. This theory will help you in understanding the need of back-up and let you decide how to manage it according to your own needs.
The first thing is to get organized. You could create a back-up by simply dumping your files somewhere else, but it would only make it harder for you to look through your data. The best thing to do is to come up with a naming plan. Name your folders in such a manner that they are easy to locate on your backup. The best example is to name your folder by date. Year-Month-Date format followed by a keyword is generally the best idea as it will list the folder by date. For example, if I shot Tom’s birthday today 22 December 2010, I’d name my folder 2010_12_22_TomsBirthday or 20101222_TomsBirthday. You can further create subfolders etc according to your needs.
Storage medium can be a tricky thing. CDs and DVDs fade, literally, over time, whereas flash drives have a high rate of becoming corrupt. External hard drives last longer but are not everlasting. The best bet could be to invest in an online storage space. Tons of websites offer storage space, it comes in different packages so you can choose the one which best suits your needs.
If you are using a physical hard drive or flash memory, you need to ensure that you are completely safe from theft and physical damage. So it is prudent to keep more than one copy of the back-up and ensure that the storage medium is in two difference places, like one at your home and one at the workplace etc. A thief is highly unlikely to grab one hard drive and leave the other one. Similarly fire would destroy both sets of hard drives if they are kept in the same place.
Online backup is a brilliant way to ensuring that you are safe from everything. With online backup you don’t have to worry about corrupt hard drives, multiple back-ups, storage equipment costs, theft, fire etc.
Online backup is basically uploading your precious files on the server of the service provider. Mostly all you have to do is install the software to get started. Most of the software lets you select the files you want to back up and then encrypt, compress and transfer the files to a protected location. This data is encrypted and can only be accessed by authorized people, making it a safe method for many professional photographers as well as the occasional hobbyist.
The only costs attached to online backup are the starting costs and the monthly subscriptions. Here is an analysis of three well-known online backup service providers for photographers.
PhotoShelter is specially built for photographers. Primarily an online backup program, PhotoShelter is also a photo gallery. It provides the facility to display your photographs in a gallery and promote and sell them. There are four plans for PhotoShelter, i.e. basic, standard and pro. Each of these plans has different features. The Basic plan has a monthly fee of $9.99 per month and a startup cost of $50 with 10 GB of storage. While the Standard and the Pro plans have 35 GB and 100 GB storage at costs of $29.99 and $49.99 respectively. Both Standard and Pro plans have no startup costs.
Mozy is a simple back-up service. You download and install their software and select the files you want to backup on their servers. It uses a 128-bit encryption to transfer the file to its servers, once there the file is encrypted with 448-bit Blowfish encryption making it impossible to hack. Mozy has two package plans Home and Pro. The Home package has a flat rate of $4.95 a month without any startup costs for one PC with unlimited storage capacity. The Pro package offers different rates for servers and desktops. The cost for servers and desktops are $6.95 and $3.95 for the license plus a $0.5 for every GB of storage space used.
iDrive provides very similar service to Mozy. It initially offers a free 5 GB of storage volume on their secure servers. iDrive has three package plans, personal, family and business. With personal package you can only backup the images from one computer, whereas the family plan offers up to five computers and business plan has no restriction for the number of computers. Personal plan gives 150 GB of storage space for $4.95 per month or $49.50 per year. Family plan gives 500 GB of storage for $14.95 per month or $149.50 per year. The business plan has four volume based packages.
It comes in 50 GB, 100 GB, 500 GB and 1000 GB of volume. The prices are $9.95 per month or $99.50 per year for the 50 GB package, $19.95 per month or $199.50 per year for the 100 GB package, $49.95 per month or $499.50 per year for the 500 GB package and $79.95 per month or $799.50 per year for the 1000 GB package. iDrive also gives you the option of purchasing additional storage volume of 1 GB for $0.5 per month.
Hope this post helps you choose the right plan for your business. Always be safe.