How to avoid a data disaster!

Author Recent Posts Nicole BegleyNicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator. She created Hair of the Dog in 2012 to empower pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality by helping them improve their craft and grow their pet photography business.Nicole has authored a book “Pet and Equine […]

Written By Nicole Begley

On March 10, 2017

“Disc will not mount”

Those are not the words you ever want to see on your screen, as it usually means you have a substantial hard drive failure.  Unfortunately, it is not IF but WHEN you will have such an experience with your computer or external hard drive.

No hard drive is fool proof and no hard drive lasts forever.  As my good friend Heather Lahtinen says, “two is one, and one is none”.  This may not be true in all aspects of your life, but it is certainly true in data management and when counting Belgium chocolates.

The issue is that creating a backup strategy is SO INCREDIBLY OVERWHELMING that most photographers just bury their heads in the unbacked up sand and keep kicking this task down the road…until one day it’s too late!

As a professional photographer, those images are our livelihood, doing nothing to protect your data is simply not an option in my opinion. 

While there are oodles of options on the market, here are the three things that you need to ensure you have covered…

  • All the data on your main machine needs to have an automatically running backup IN YOUR HOME.  That way, if one drive bites the dust you can still access your files without waiting for backups to be downloaded or mailed.  This can be accomplished by a RAID 1 array, a drobo system, or even an external hard drive acting as a time machine backup.
  • Your main machine needs to be backed up online always and automatically.  Backblaze and Crash Plan are the best options as Carbonite doesn’t back up large files automatically.  This keeps you covered should you need to reinstall your entire operating system or if you had a catastrosphic loss to you home.
  • I also want a place to keep all of my final jpg files, forever and ever.  For that, I use manual cloud storage, meaning I have to physically add them to the cloud once the session is finalized.  The most popular options are Dropbox and Google Drive.

Again, there are various options, but I hope this gives you a framework so you know where to even start with your backup plan!  

Nicole Begley

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  1. Neil T

    Interesting article, but you should never rely on RAID 1 for a backup. RAID 1 is purely two drives that are configured to write the same data to both disks.

    If you accidentally delete a file, it will instantly be removed from both mirrored copies.

    If your disk is corrupted by a software bug or virus, the corruption will be done to both mirrored copies simultaneously.

    If you’re hit by a bad enough power surge, it’ll probably fry both disks at the same time.

    RAID 1 is a basic fault tolerance and should not be used for back up.

    • Nicole

      Thanks Neil for your comments. That is true, all of those things can happen. That is why I have multiple cloud-based systems backing up my files as well. I like my RAID because if a hard drive dies because of normal wear and tear drive failure, I simply replace it and it copies all of the material from the other drive….without me having to wait to have all of my data sent to me from my cloud service. If there is a major power surge or catastrophe at my home…that’s what my online cloud backup is for.

  2. Cat

    Awesome article. We use RAID 5, but I’ve been considering using cloud service in tandem to that.

    • Nicole

      Yes! A cloud service is critical. What happens if your studio burns down? Must keep our data safe!


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