The past year has been full of upheaval for us as a family. I’ve been working away a lot, travelling and taking more and more pictures. How to keep the pictures and other digital content safe, but accessible has been on my mind a lot.
There must be a more clever way! We’ve discussed the value of data and the importance of keeping it safe, but practically how we do it?
My principle is “data exists safely if it is in 3 places”. The method is not fool-proof, but I thought I’d share my method, including the products I’ve purchased and work for me.
1, The photos live on the phone or the camera SD card
Content- photos and videos- from my regular camera are recorded on an SD card.
Prices have significantly dropped for storage media like SD Cards. Currently the best value per Gigabyte of storage, I’ve found, is the 16GB cards, but even the 64GB cards are now good value. The affordability of the cards means I don’t reuse the cards anymore, but keep the data on there (after backing it up) and store them safely in a little wallet.
The phone also fills up every 2-3 months, especially with videos. I’ve always moved these to my laptop (which has a large HDD).
2, Photos are backed up to a portable HDD
For the work in progress and new content I have a 1TB portable WD passport drive, that I often carry with me. I back up my laptop on here intermittently too.
Actually I have a few WD Passports I’ve bought in the past 3 years or so. As they fill up I store them safely. (It would make sense to label them with what’s on it…but I’m yet to be that organised.)
Out of all the portable HDDs I’ve had, I’ve found the WD passport the most reliable so far. These drives have put up with my gentle adventures and travels well at the bottom of my laptop bag.
If you do get a WD Passport , just note that they come with weird cables, not just a simple USB. After forgetting to take the cable a couple of times, I have now stuck the cable to it with some Sugru– the mouldable plasticise type material that hardens to a flexible plastic.
3, Cloud storage
As the Internet becomes accessible from almost anywhere in the world, backing up to the cloud has grown and, after an initial mistrust, I’ve grown to like it.
Cloud back up is clever! My phone is set up to automatically back up to my OneDrive and I have several laptop folders that syncnchroise the moment I hit WiFi. This system has worked well for the past 18 months.
However, I was in the middle of Sri Lankan trip, when I realised my phone wasn’t synchronising it’s content to OneDrive. I went online to see why, thinking that it was just weak WiFi. No! I had filled up my 1TB allowance that comes with being an Office365 subscriber. I could buy more, but it was going to cost £5 for very little extra.
It was time to look to the Internet of Things- Devices connected to the Internet from your own home, making life easier. It’s amazing what tech is available! Nowadays you can check your bills, monitor your energy consumption, your sleep patterns. Generally these allow us to bring more control to our lives, like Smart Meters and other connected devices.
In searching for solutions for my data backup I found WD My Cloud, a home HDD that is linked the Internet, giving me more control. I’ve now got one of these babies with 6TB …yes 6TB of capacity!
The set up was relatively simple.
It took about 30 mins to initialise the drive, set up an account and passwords, download the software that allows you to synchronise content between drives and select the actual content to sych. I then let it get on with synchronising the folders selected; the 800GB of data transfer took roughly a day. Some of the transfer of data was slowed as I transferred files from my OneDrive to MyCloud, so I was downloading and uploading massive folder simultaneously.
We’ve set up the drive, so Dadonthebrink and I back up to a clear folder structure. Dadonthebrink’s phone is set to back up to the MyCloud too. Mine, a WindowsPhone, doesn’t support the WD Sync app, so still syncs to OneDrive; where I’ve freed up space now.
As I’ve been travelling again for the past weeks, it’s worked really well. Accessing my backed up data is faster than it used to be on OneDrive.
Have you succumb to the Internet of Things? What smart, connected gadget do you have?