I was born in 1977 and my father was an amateur photographer, so he started taking photos of us the minute we came into the world. In 1992, when I was fifteen years old, my parent’s living room was full of photo albums with at least 200 images of me. By the year 2006, I was a parent myself to a one-year-old child and had around 1.300 images of him stored in a 4 GB hard disk. That was the moment I started to panic about STORAGE. I’m a visual creator so I care a lot about keeping the original image file due to its quality which, under no circumstance, can be compared to that of a compressed image. So, uploading my memories to social media platforms such as Facebook, Flickr, or Instagram and using them as a backup source was never an option for me.
Many times in the past, when clients hired me for design or animation, the scenario was always the same: I would ask them to deliver the original files to me but, in turn, I would receive a link taking me to their social media profiles. I was expected to use those pictures (or, shall I say, those low-quality images that could never be used for design purposes) to create a video. Sometimes, I would even get useless WhatsApp files.
People unfamiliar with backups are entrusting their complete “digital memories” to an online service that certainly is not eternal. For example, a few years ago, Megaupload (a cloud storage service) was closed by the FBI and the users could never recover their files. Who can confirm that Facebook, Instagram, or Dropbox will be there in 20 years?
Have you ever looked for an item all around the house, searching drawers, trying to concentrate on where you put it without success? The same thing happens when you try to show your amazing 2010 birthday cake to someone and your backup disk (If you have one) is a mess. It is a good practice to keep all your files well-named. My folder trees are always organized by Year — Month — Topic. (e.g. 2010 / October / Nico’s Birthday). If you want to take ORDER seriously, Mac and Windows have their own “Photo-catalog” applications but maybe you could also check out Adobe Lightroom, or Adobe Bridge.
In terms of security, I keep three copies of my files (2 external hard disks and a cloud backup — Google Drive in my case). I certainly don’t recommend using your local drive as a backup.
Keeping your storage in order takes time, so be aware of focusing on “backup time” regularly. I do it once a month and when I download photos or videos to my computer I concentrate on naming the files correctly and putting them into the correct folder. Don’t forget to make copies in your alternative backup storage devices or cloud.
Hardware is also in danger of malfunctioning — For instance, hard disks have a life of 10 years tops. Investing in external hard disks periodically and paying a subscription for cloud storage are the best ways to keep your memories safe.
Let’s take some time to think about this: “How much is your total weight in GB? Is it safe? Should you take action right now to avoid the loss of irrecuperable data?” The answer is YES. You can start right now by making a copy of your files and uploading them to the cloud. Here are my online storage service recommendations:
GoogleDrive Free tier: 15GB Storage capacity: 2TB Number of devices: Unlimited
Microsoft One Drive Free tier: 5GB Storage capacity: 6TB Number of devices: 30
iDrive Free tier: 5GB Storage size: 5TB Number of devices: Unlimited
NordLocker Free tier: 3GB Storage capacity: 500GB Number of devices: Unlimited
Dropbox Team sharing! Free: 2GB Storage capacity: 2TB Number of devices: Unlimited
Remember: “It’s never too soon to start creating a backup for your files.” Stay safe!
How do you manage yourself if you have a huge amount of digital data? Did you find this article useful? I would love to learn your thoughts on this topic are.