It’s 2016 folks. Why are you still using external hard drives for storage? Dropbox. Google Drive. Amazon Drive. ???
Okay…I kid I kid.
Fast internet isn’t in all parts of the “sticks” these days. That’s reason #1 for hanging onto your external/portable hard drives. It’s also reason 2, 3, and 4.
In all seriousness: using cloud storage vs local storage for your working (as in current) files is one discussion. But using cloud storage vs local storage for archiving (as in long term storage / backup) is an entirely different discussion.
What do we archive the most? Pictures. We don’t realize how important these pics are until we lose them all. And it happens every day:
Which leads me to say: if you’re using your computer or external/portable drives as your sole means of backing up your photos, I’ve got 3 words for you.
Time to stop!
Now I can hear your reasons for using local drives all the way from where I’m sitting right here. I’ll hear you if you pinky promise to hear me. Let’s do it:
“But cloud storage isn’t as secure/safe as my external hard drive(s).”
Crazy talk yo! This one’s easy: Your external/portable drives are substantially. less. safe. and. secure. External hard drives crash (it’s not if, but when). They also get lost. And stolen. They also burn up in house fires (I’ve seen this personally). They also get fried in a high current overload (lighting strikes). Basically, external hard drives are a terrible solution for long-term backups!
The backup redundancy and security that Amazon Photos or Dropbox provides is infinitely safer than your hard drive. Same goes for any of the other online photo storage solutions (which…secret…many of them actually use Amazon servers).
“But cloud storage is more expensive than buying external / portable hard drives.”
Let’s run the fact checker on this one.
You can get this 1TB Portable Drive for $58. It’s a tremendous drive. Small, sleek, fast. I have a couple, so I speak from experience.
Speaking of a couple, you’ll need at least 2 hard drives for archival purposes. Redundancy is critical. So we’re already up to $116. Of course, 1TB isn’t that much storage (at all). But we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
But with these cloud solutions, redundancy is already built in. We don’t need to buy it twice.
But then there’s Amazon Drive, which costs $59.99 per year for UNLIMITED storage of all your files, pics, videos, and more. “But that’s a recurring charge, Kyle!” True, but so is buying new hard drives every 3 years (and you need to in order to be safe and increase storage).
Personally, I think it gets a bit sweeter. You see, if you’re already a Amazon Prime Member (and you really should be), you don’t even need Amazon Drive to store all your photos. Because Amazon Prime members get Amazon Photos included!
Amazon Photos includes UNLIMITED photo storage for you AND 5 others. They don’t compress your photos, btw (full rez baby). Safe. Secure. Accessible from all your devices. And you’ll get simple apps for all your computers and devices that do 100% of the backup work for you, while you sleep. Or play. Or work. Or anything.
You do the math. And don’t forget to factor in the time is valuable…more than money for sure.
Personally, I already have Amazon Prime. It’s hands down the best service I pay for every year. It’d be worth the $99 price of UNLIMITED photo storage alone, but it includes SOO much more. Just ask any Prime Member. They’ll start gushing too.
Hold the train. Just remembered that Amazon Prime has a FREE 30 day trial. Goodness gracious. Get started people.
“External hard drives are more convenient.”
For your everyday work files, okay, I can go with that. But for long-term, archival quality backup of all your photos? Not even close: cloud backups are “setup once and let it roll.” What’s next?
“But, you see, I keep one external hard drive at home, and another at Uncle Freds/the office/some-other-place and I swap them out every week and I have this backup software and it’s just so cool…”
If you like this hobby, more power to you. I’m going to stick with guitar.
“But I don’t want my pictures out on the ‘grid.’ What if they get stolen?”
Statistically, there’s a far greater chance of your pictures getting stolen from your home, while you’re there guarding your hard drive with nunchucks, than getting your pics stolen in a secured environment like Amazon Photos or Dropbox or Google Drive.
“But I just like to have a LOCAL copy of all my pics. It makes me feel warm and cozy.”
I like to have local copies too. And I do. I just really don’t like the risk of only having local copies. It’s not a safe, nor inexpensive, way to archive your photos.
This was a big one. If you’re still reading, in all seriousness and humility, I sincerely hope this helps. It’s all fun and games until you lose images at home in some accident. And again, it happens every day.
Honestly, the best advice I can give you is to at least try an online solution. Amazon Prime is FREE for 30 days. Nothing to lose, so much to gain.
And for the record, it’s what I use for my primary archival solution. I use other solutions for fun too. But that’s another post.
Lastly, stay tuned…we’ll be talking a lot more about other photo backup solutions in the coming weeks.