My backup plan is pretty comprehensive. I publish it here just in case it inspires some ideas you can implement to help your data become more secure.
I have now changed part of my backup process since writing this article back in Feb 2011. I now use Crashplan for part of the process. I’ll write more about that later.
When I arrive back to HQ after a photoshoot my first action is to make a cup of tea. That in itself is an important part of my plan. This five minutes of downtime lets me gather my memory cards by preparing them for upload and allows my main edit computer to boot up. Once we are ready to actually upload the images to the computer I insert the first card and use Windows Explorer to copy the files to a directory. The name of this directory is based on the date and purpose of the shoot. A recent example would be 110212 – Products – XXX” where XXX is the clients name. I work through all memory cards saving all images into this folder. In the background I have a backup utility monitoring the root folder of this drive. “SyncBack SE” will spot any new files and immediately copy them to another drive on my machine, creating a first backup copy. This copy will actually become my main edit location. The reason I do this is simple. The first copy I make manually is never used again as the purpose of this is to become a copy of the card contents with no edits. It’s the “negative” in film terms, never edited, never adjusted, always secure.
So, my first backup became my primary edit location. Any changes to this folder are automatically backed up using another “Syncback SE” profile. This is where I start making subfolders for shots as I break things into categories. This backup is the interesting one. It’s off-site. I have a friend who is happy for me to securely store my data on his machine, so this backup is streamed over to him every evening as a password protected ZIP file. This off-site backup is what protects my business from entire system loss due to fire, theft or other disaster.
All of these backups happen in the background with no operations required by myself. This makes the system secure as I don’t need to remember to run backups.
Even with all of this, I still do run backups onto DVD disks every three months. I archive off everything new during that three months and take the disks to a secure storage place. The problem with DVD’s is they’re life expectancy. A lot or research has been done into the stability of DVD media, much of it reporting very short shelf life. Even with this I feel it is useful to have this final set.
I referred to “SyncBack SE” in the above text. This is very well priced software for the PC which offers a wide array of options for backing up or moving files. Find out more about SyncBack here.