Q&A: Saving files and photos online – storage and big data

Question: Every month I take hundreds of pictures and I also write – it’s a book in progress. I use my computer, mobile phone, tablet and an other computer when travelling. I don’t have a proper system to backup all my photos and files. If I loose my photos and the chapters I’ve written for my book I would get totally depressed. Do you have any tips for how to save my files in a safer way?

Answer: One wise person I met said that your data doesn’t exist if it’s not saved in at least two places. So tip number one is to have all documents and photos in at least one extra place. To be even safer you need to have all data in three places.

There are many people who never back up data such as photos; many use Facebook as their backup, but what if Facebook’s servers stop working? Then you have nothing.

At the moment we have enormous amounts of data in our lives, and it’s only going to increase. My best tip is to back up all your data in at least three places, always.

Here are some options: CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, external hard drives, and online back-ups such as Backblaze, Dropbox, IDrive, Carbonite and other cloud-based services.

Make sure that your photos on your mobile phone is backed up on a regular basis, either you transfer them manually or you get a cloud storage to do it for you.

If you can’t access your data for any reason it feel like you lost the key to your padlock. If you still have any old storage solutions, like disks, try to convert them into a digital format.

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If you have a website make sure you have a backup system that actually works. Talk to your host provider and check if they do backups, and also back it up yourself. You want it to be easy to recover a lost website, not fiddly.

It’s good to remember that any free or cheap service is likely to give no, or poor customer service.

When we are as dependent as we are on data, it’s better to be safe and overdo it than not do anything and become severely depressed when photos, blog posts, emails and other important information is gone. 

You can also print out the most important documents and save for the future. I know an author who thanks to that could continue writing her story after her computer stopped working, she couldn’t recover the files and it was thanks to that she printed all chapters the week before that she could continue writing. 

And why not develop your photos, get them printed and save them in a safe place at home. You never know what will happen with your digital storage, but your paper photos will stay with your as long as there is no fire or water damage.

4 lost data stories that I mentioned in my March newsletter

 1) ‘My cat was playing with my external hard drive and she knocked it down onto the floor. I could never access the information again and lost the data that belonged to ten clients.’

2) ‘My iPhone was no longer reliable so I decided to develop all my photos that I had on it (get them printed on paper). It was the best idea I ever had. My phone died one week later and I couldn’t recover the photos; I had no proper backup.’

3) ‘I had all my video files saved on an external hard drive. When it stopped working I had to pay $700 to get it back. I wish I had got myself an online back-up as well.’

4) Author, Daisy Goodwin, thought she lost her manuscript in a fire. Read about it here.

Be safe and stay backed up!


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Do you have any questions about life in relation to social media?

Send an email with your question to Sofie Sandell for a chance to get it published here.

Email: sofie@sofiesandell.com

An old rusty padlock