Photos are in Danger: Highlight 5

Home Computers (+ Backup Hard Drives)

Storing photos “in the cloud” may feel nebulous and uncertain, but, alternatively, physical devices (including DVDs and hard drives) are actually expected to fail. Online storage takes the limited lifespan of hardware into account by utilizing a huge number of interconnected physical devices and swapping them out when one fails. Unfortunately it’s a little more difficult for us individuals to deal with device failures.

But they will fail. In just six months, the typical DVD will begin to lose some of its data.

Hard drives are expected to fail after three years, and flash drives rarely make it to age six.

As shown in the image below, a study performed by BackBlaze confirms that the risk of failure and data loss in hard drives is over 5% in the first 18 months. After 36 months, the annual failure rate increases to 12%.

drives failure rates

After three years, the likelihood that your hard drive will continue to function as expected drastically decreases.

Duplicates aren’t enough.

Owning multiple backups is a good idea, but if they’re located in the same place (like, for instance, your home), you’re increasing dramatically the likelihood of data loss. If you’re hit by a natural disaster, a fire, or a flood, you could lose everything. It may seem unlikely, but no one expects those kinds of events. Better to be prepared and have off-site backups like cloud storage than to keep everything at home—and merely hope for the best.

They’re not perfect, but keep using them!

Be certain to keep copies of your data locally. Otherwise, you’ll retain no access to your photos, videos, and documents without both a power source and internet signal. Besides, you can’t have too many backups. It’s a great idea to have a storage option that doesn’t depend on the continued existence of a company—even a major one. Even if the company that made your hard drive goes out of business, you’ll hold on to your data. But avoid using CDs and DVDs for backups. Hard drives and flash drives have much more robust lifespans.

Drum roll please….. Highlight 6


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