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3-2-1 Backup ... to Save your Photos

In honor of Save Your Photos Month, here’s the most important advice I can share as a photo organizer. Back up your photos using 3 2 1 plan. If you do this your photo memories should be safe even if there’s a fire, flood, robbery, hard drive crash, or simply a lost phone. Why is the 3 2 1 plan so great? Redundancy.

Why three copies?

Losing data on your computer is more common than you might think. Aim for a consolidated hub of all your original photos, ideally on your computer, plus two backups of this original. Redundancy protects you in case of damage or loss.

Why two different types media?

There are pros and cons to each type of media so it’s smart to diversify. External hard drives are small and portable, but can fail. Print pictures and albums take up physical space, but if stored properly can last for generations. Cloud services are amazing as your photos can be accessed from anywhere with internet, but can be expensive over time and there are privacy issues. Free cloud services may compress your files or make it difficult for you to download your entire library.

Why one copy off site?

An onsite backup is convenient for quick access, but if your computer is stolen or your house floods, there’s a good chance your in home backups will be susceptible too. A good off site option is a current external hard drive stored out of your home (ex: a relative’s house or the bank vault). A popular off site option is to back up your photos in the Cloud.

Which cloud service is right for you? That’s a newsletter of it’s own, but some to consider are Backblaze and Carbonite which back up your entire computer, iCloud which syncs all your apple devices, SmugMug for a beautiful viewing experience, Google Photos with superior AI for searching, Amazon Photos which mirrors the folder structure on your computer and doesn’t compress photos, and DropBox a syncing service tailored for sharing files. No matter which cloud service you use, make sure your subscription is up to date, know your log in credentials, and check periodically that the company is still in business. Unfortunately some online photo cloud providers have closed their doors or have been purchased, leaving customers who don’t have other backups to scramble to download their photos or lose them.

So what should I Do?

An external hard drive plugged into your computer is a great start for protecting your photos. The addition of a cloud service and hard copies of your favorite prints or photo books more than covers your 3 2 1 backup. There are many combinations of a 3 2 1 Backup System, but the most important is to find a solution that you’ll actually use! Automatic backups onto an external hard drive and the Cloud will make this easier.

If you need help setting up your own 3 2 1 Backup for your photos, let’s talk.


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