One of my recent posts focused on starting a family history archive. Since we create so many digital memories and projects in the form of photos, videos and documents, it is important to back up these files. An external hard drive is a great way to back up a large number of files, but there is still a risk of the hard drive being damaged or stolen, along with your computer, in case of a fire, theft or accident. An alternative or supplemental way to back up files is in the “cloud” which basically means uploading your files online.
Cloud-based backup services give you a greater degree of safety because the files you are backing up are stored on remote servers. The servers may be located in a different state or country and those facilities often have their own security and a backup power supply in case of an emergency. Some people aren’t comfortable uploading their personal files to the “cloud” but to my knowledge the reputable companies in the business are very secure. Preserving your files may be much more important than the threat of an unlikely breach of your privacy.
A good way to get a feel for cloud-based backup services is to use a free service just to get your feet wet. If you like it, you can upgrade to paid service to increase your storage capacity. The service that I use is the free version of Dropbox.
All that you need is your name and email address to register and you get 2GB of free storage which you can access from a folder that can be installed on any computer that you use.
If you aren’t currently using any cloud storage, I strongly recommend that you give it a try. 2GB of free storage represents space for 400 photos that are 5MB each, 300+ songs or 1000′s of documents.
If you are a writer or a student with important projects such as a draft of a book, a PhD dissertation or research notes, you have to back up your work. Like I’ve said before, computers are like cars, they are guaranteed to fail over time. The problem is that when your computer fails, even if you can fix it, you may lose your precious files that you’ve accumulated and worked on over the years.
I don’t know what else to tell you, but give cloud storage a shot and let me know how you like it! I use Dropbox because it is simple and user friendly. Once Apple starts their iCloud service in the next month or so, you can get 5GB of storage for free. Give several free services a try if you’d like, but don’t be complacent.
You’ve worked too hard to take all of those photos, type dozens or hundreds of pages and amass great music collection to leave it all on one machine that will crash when you least expect it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!