Yup, it's definitely time to talk about backups. Now that everyone is stuck in doors for a while, perhaps it’s a good time to get your photography library and digital life in order. Although most people know that they "should" back up their data most people actually don't. For the most part there seems to be a false sense of security in computing equipment. Even if you have a fairly stable computer it's stability is normally a reflection of the software not the hardware. Consider that the majority of hard drives are still mechanical drives with moving parts. And moving parts mean they have the potential to break down. Don't forget: nothing lasts forever and everything has a shelf life. So the fact that your hard drive may simply stop working one day should give you enough pause to back up your data!!! If you have a solid state drive do consider the second statement, everything has a shelf life! Everything, even plastic!
The number 1 back up strategy is to HAVE ONE!
Now that we have established that your hard drives are vulnerable let's talk about what constitutes a backup. A backup means that you have a secondary copy of your data. If you only have one copy it's a primary copy and therefore cannot be considered a backup! Many people are storing their data on the cloud believing that this is a backup. If the cloud stores your one and only copy it is not a backup! Although the cloud seems secure as it is backed by millions of dollars of technology, if you read the small print of your contract, you will notice that not one single company will be responsible for your data in the event of data loss. Often people site that their Random Cloud Service Company is secure because giant financial institutions like Bank of America or Duetche Bank uses their Random Cloud Service Company, and this is proof that the data secure, there is a failure to recognize that these institutions also employ a team of techs to insure that the data is secure! It is foolish to believe that an institution the size of Bank of America would simply throw all of their data onto some cloud without extensive verification. It would also be hard to imagine that their team of technology and security specialists are not monitoring their data 24/7 regardless of which cloud service they use. Lastly, it is also hard to imagine that our data would be held on the same exact databank which houses information for companies like Bank of America. So although a large institution may use the same cloud service as you do, know that their contract with you will be rather different than yours. This is why you need a second drive that is preferably in a different location than the first one.
So what's the point of the cloud? The purpose of the cloud is primarily for fast easy access to your data from anywhere in the world and for the ability to expand capacity as you need it, as long as you are willing to pay for it. What about the fact that your cloud provider backs up your data? This is true however if their back up server lives in the same facility as their primary server and a tornado wipes out that facility then guess what? Both primary and secondary copies are gone. Even though this is a highly unlikely scenario, don't forget that back up still means a second copy preferably in a different location. Therefore, if you keep a local copy of all your data and a secondary one on the cloud then you are safe.
In conclusion, always keep two separate copies of your data and keep them in separate places.