Keeping Your Treasured Photos Safe

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Just imagine all the thousands of photos stored in phones, digital cameras and laptops. The Daily Mail estimates that almost 40 percent of such individuals have no backup of those files. 

Keeping Your Treasured Photos Safe

These devices break, wear out or are damaged every day, and with them thousands of photos are lost. Make sure you have backup plan for your treasured memories. Those moments in time can be lost forever if you don't protect them.

Local Backups and Broken Hard Drives

Most people know they should back up their files regularly. This often happens at home to a computer hard drive or maybe to an external drive. Local backups are a good idea because it does make a copy of the files. However, it's not such a good idea for long-term storage because hardware does break.

Backblaze estimates that 22 percent of hard drives, on average, fail in the first four years of use. The failure rate is higher if the computer or hard drive is used continually, or is used in hot, dusty environments. You also could experience a failure if there is a sudden spike on the electric circuit, such as during a lighting storm. You could lose years of photos on one failed drive.

While there are recovery services who will attempt to retrieve files off of a dead hard drive for you, these are expensive with no guarantee the recovery will be 100 percent successful. A better option is to have multiple ways of backing up your photos.

Backing Up to the Cloud

Cloud storage services have matured into an easy way for people to save all types of files, including photos. Most are easy to set up. Some offer automated backup, such as Mozy, so you don't even have to remember to do the backup yourself. Some vendors require you to load small programs onto your computer to do the backup while others rely on a browser-based online application.

Having a combination of backups is safest. Do a local backup of your photos from your phone or camera to the computer and a regular backup to your cloud storage. One way to use your cloud storage is as an archival system.

Since your files are in the cloud, you have access to them anywhere. For example, photos you take during a vacation can be uploaded to your cloud storage from your hotel room and then you can access them again when you get home. Or you can check on photos you took during your last trip to your destination to see if you already have photos of certain scenic spots.

The Safety of Your Photos

USA Today finds that cloud storage is as safe as other storage options. Most cloud service providers use encryption to store your files so they can't be viewed by others. Data is stored on huge disk farms, which are constantly monitored for potential disk failures. The systems cloud providers use allow the replacement of disk drives without creating any downtime. You don't have to worry about a drive failing and losing photos.

Keeping Those Non-Digital Photos Safe

If you have a number of regular film photos, you can keep them save as well. CNET shows how you can scan those photos to create digital copies. Or you can have a service do that for you. A digital copy of a film photo is easier to store, doesn't fade, or get damaged by water or fire. You could scan your print photos and store the originals in a fireproof box or in a safe deposit box with your bank.

RECOMMENDED: 5 Ways to Preserve Precious Family Photos

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