How to backup your data for long term storage

For quite some time, I have been digging to find a reliable method to store my heavy personal media files which counts in GBs yet but is growing at a faster rate and soon gonna reach to a TB. And I pre-planned to off-load this data from my system’s hard disk.

Till now, I have looked into online cloud backup services like dropbox, RAID 1 NAS type storage, external hard drives and flash drives including SD cards. I am already using dropbox to store and backup my important files after activating two-factor authentication. Now it’s time to lookup a new house for my media files.

As far as i researched, I found optical storage devices like CDs and DVDs lasts longer but not more than Magnetic Tapes, which I think isn’t a reliable solution for personal needs keeping in view the future innovations. The key to store optical media for long time is maintenance and care.

The second best method, which I’m gonna try, is external hard drive. You may want to buy two hard drives each of different manufacturer (say one of Western Digital and other of Seagate) to justify your “backup” and sync the data every month. I would also recommend storing both the drives at different places in case some mishap like fire happen to one location.

Do handle the external USB powered hard drives with care. The more bumps you give it, the more will be the chances of getting it retire early.

Make sure you make duplicate copies of your critical data in several locations. Let me know if you any better alternative to my work-around.

Right now, cloud storage or redundant local storage (RAID) on active hard drives are much better backup options. Never keep one copy, always keep at least two.

Good Reads:

  • http://wordcastnet.com/2010/how-long-should-your-digital-storage-last/
  • http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/long-term-personal-data-storage/376

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