Back-up with Online Storage

Online Storage_crop

I have been using an external hard drive to back up digital photos, with important files also stored on CD. By important files, I mean PDF files for photo books I have created. However, lots of copies keep stuff safe (LOCKSS). Consequently, I have now added online backup to my strategy.

Because I use multiple computers and wanted complete control of which files are stored online. I decided that backup services such as CarboniteCrashPlan, and  BackBlaze were not right for me. These services are reasonable, particularly since they purport to offer unlimited storage, but were not right for me. I was also concerned about a message I had received earlier questioning the process that Carbonite uses to backup files.

Instead, I chose to compare various cloud storage services that allow you to determine exactly which files are stored online. These services also make it convenient to share photos and other files with others.I also don’t like to pay for things, unless I absolutely have to. With this criteria in mind, I came up with a short and long term plan.

At this time I have about 60 GB of photos, expanding at a rate of 5-10 GB/year. I also have other files that I wanted to backup, as well.

My short term plan is based on free services. I created accounts on Dropbox (2+ GB), Microsoft SkyDrive (7 GB), Google Drive (15 GB) and Box (50 GB with current iPhone promotion). I also tried to create an account on MediaFire (10 GB), but their software was incompatible with my system. Altogether I wound up with 85 GB storage at an annual cost of $0. Keep in mind that there is no reason not to use multiple services at the same time.

Another free service is ADrive, which offers 50 GB free. Unfortunately, this service is not as convenient as the others because the free service does not include the desktop application, which is available only with the premium plan.

I distributed my newly created space as follows: Dropbox for sharing files, SkyDrive for non-photo files, Google Drive for photos from 2009 and before, and Box for photos 2010-present.

I recognize this is not a long-term strategy and that I will soon run out of space on the free services, so I have a plan for that, as well.  All of these services offer additional storage for sale, and surprisingly the lowest cost additional storage is available from Microsoft with 100 GB for $50/year and  200 GB for $100/year. Consequently, when I run out of online storage, my plan is to use Microsoft SkyDrive. After all, it is far cheaper to take precautions that to deal with lost files after the fact.

See SkyDrive for more details on this service.

Edited January 21, 2014 to add information on BackBlaze and ADrive.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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3 Responses to Back-up with Online Storage

  1. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for sharing your process. I don’t know if it will work for you but did you look into BackBlaze?

    • Mark Mizen says:

      BackBlaze seems similar to Carbonite and CrashPlan. At this point, my preference is for a cloud storage system that allows me to clearly specify the files that are stored online and then access them from any PC or mobile device. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Pingback: Online Storage with Microsoft OneDrive | All About Images Blog

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