Back it up! - Bro

Backing up your digital life is very important. Nobody wants to lose their video of baby’s first steps. That being said there is no reason why you need to pay an arm and a leg to make sure you pictures are safe.

The general rule of thumb for backing up very important digital items is 3 different backups, 2 different types of backup, and at least 1 offsite backup (and no your phone does not count as a form of backup because phones are lost and break all the time). For example I backup my pictures on a hard drive at work, a hard drive at home, and in Google Photos. This is in essence 3 different backups, 2 offsite backups (including one extra), and 2 different types (hard drive and website).

One important question is how much space do I need? A standard smartphone has between 8 and 128GB. If you take a lot of high quality video it is quite possible to collect 1000GB (AKA 1TB). If you mostly take pictures and a short video here and there then you will likely have less than 100GB. For reference I have 180GB worth of videos and pictures (I have a 3 year old’s and 6 year old’s worth of pictures and videos).

Some reasonable offsite backup:
Google Photos (Free): Google will backup all of your photos for free. The “catch” is that they will slightly downgrade (compress) your photos. The change is generally not noticeable but if you were a professional photographer who used their photos on huge billboards this would not be a good way to backup. Backing up is as simple as installing an app on your phone or computer. After that Google will backup of your pictures into the cloud. This is for backing up pictures only (and videos on your phone). For videos on your computer and other files see Google Drive.

Dropbox (1TB for $99/year): Dropbox is basically a cloud hard drive. You can use it to store any files in the cloud. Dropbox also has great smartphone apps that backup your pictures to the cloud as you take them (just like google photos). Dropbox is a great alternative to Google if you are worried about Google having too much info on you.

Google Drive (100GB for $2/month, 1TB for $99/year): Google drive is a direct competitor to Dropbox. With Google drive you can choose to backup your pictures at full quality. In addition you can save your videos and other files. Google has great apps for both phones and computers. Note: you can choose to use both Google and Dropbox. They will not “fight” each other.

Idrive (2TB for $70/year): Idrive is a service that is designed to backup your computer. You install the Idrive app on your computer and it will backup your laptop or desktop. In order for this to be a good backup you need to be sure you put your important pictures on your computer instead of just leaving them on your phone. The major downside to Idrive is their apps are not great. This is a great service if you are trying to backup lots of data for cheap. I personally use Idrive but to be honest I am planning on jumping ship for Google when my contract is up.

Some Reasonable on site backup:
USB Hard Drive ( 1TB for $50, 4TB for $100): This is your most basic form of backing up. Some hard drives even include software to help with backups. Both Mac and Windows also include built in backup software. The main problem with USB hard drives is they do not backup your phone unless you first backup your phone to your computer.

Network Attached Storage: A NAS is a mini computer your stick onto your home network. This mini computer can then be accessed from your phone, laptop, and desktop. To keep things simple for this guide I will not go into the details but I use Synology for my personal and work NAS. I have also heard decent things about the WD My Cloud. Please be aware that this is my favorite form of backup but it is also very technical. Be sure you are a nerd or know a nerd if you are going to go this route. Nerd talk warning : If you use a redundant disk NAS (RAID 1, 5, or 6) this counts as 2 of your three backups. With the synology you can configure it to backup to google drive, dropbox, or various other cloud services using “cloud sync”. This is a perfect way to hit your 3, 2, 1 all in one go. Idrive also has a synology application but it sucks.

There is a lot more to this than what one article can cover but the best thing you can do is start backing up today. One last piece of advice is to be sure to test your backups. The last thing you want to do is lose your phone and discover you have not been backing up your pictures because you forgot to sign into the app.

Please let me know your favorite backup options. I am always looking for ways to improve my backups.


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