We’re fairly sure you backup and do it without fail every time you finish working. You do a backup, right? It’s not often a hard-drive fails or your laptop get stolen, yet that’s no reason to put off backing up your work until tomorrow. It can take moments to wipe out what could have taken years to create.
Gabriel Strange-Wood had a digital music collection he curated for DJing. This took him years to build and a simple spark from the external hard-drives power adaptor took it out in seconds. This was pretty much the end of his DJing. Not matter how careful Gabriel was with that external drive he could never have predicted that spark. He learned his lesson, and since then backups of his work are vital and done in real-time.
There are many ways to backup your work, how you backup is down to personal preference. What is important, is that you do it on a regular basis. From on-line backups like Dropbox or Crashplan to printing everything out on achievable paper. Though some work you can’t be backup, there are actions you can take to preserve some element of those.
The crew at EcksMark Media use Dropbox for pretty much all their backup solutions. As long as your online everything gets backed up the moment you hit save. Even if you don’t have an internet connection it will backup to the cloud the moment you do. Dropbox also has a revision history, so if you accidently overwrite a file or delete some text you needed, you can go back and find an older version. This has saved us many times. The other advantage is Dropbox syncs across multiple machines almost instantaneously, so collaborating with others become smoother and with less risk.
Crashplan, offers a similar service to Dropbox, though we have never used it. We have heard good things about it. On the free option, you don’t have the cloud storage, just storage to multiple machines or drives. The major advantage Crashplan has over Dropbox is unlimited space, so if your files are in terabytes then Crashplan is probably the best choice.
Though these aren’t perfect solutions and by no means the only ones, they are a good option to get you going and with instant backups, you’re not going to lose too much work if you learn to save regularly. Other options include Microsoft OneDrive, Adobe Creative Cloud, and much more.
There is a small risk of security breaches, but even backing up to physical media offers its own unique security issues. With cloud storage, there is an option to remotely erase data on a lost or stolen computer. Something you can’t do with physical media.
Offline backup requires more effort but can offer you more convenience in other ways. On the writing front, we sometimes laser print files and store them in a safe place. For larger files, we buy archive hard-drives that are designed to keep data for a long time, yet be cost effective. Storing files in a different location is also handy as fire or theft can wipe these backups out.
For some of your work, offline backups might be the only option you have. If you can’t scan, or somehow create a digital copy then your only option is secure offsite duplicates of your creations. With modern technology, the gap between what can be backed up digitally and what can’t is getting narrower. 3D scanning and printing offer some solutions to this. Yet I can’t see there ever being a day when you can create a perfect digital model of The Mona Lisa.
Losing your work isn’t a case of will it happen, you need to look at when it will happen. Are you ready for a massive failure of your computer, theft or fire? Could you lose everything you own and still get access to your work? I know we can. It would be a sad day to lose everything but we would still have the many years of digital backups on-line.