Most of us use a locked filing cabinet, a safety deposit box, or a safe to store our physical belongings but what do we do when we want to keep track of our digital belongings? More and more of what we produce, care about, and value is kept in digital form. Think about those pictures of your kids’ graduations or first baby pictures or home movies? What about all the work that you do every day on the computer?
What about all your contacts, past presentations, saved research? There is so much that we produce in our computers and keep in digital media that needs protection. So much of our lives are now lived on the computer that we really do need a strategy to keep these things safe.
The cost of hard-drives has been driven down significantly in recent years—you can now buy a terabyte of data for less than $100. There is really no excuse not to own an external hard-drive to back up your computer fully. This is also a great way to store media that uses large amounts of data such as music, video, and images.
CDs and Other Storage Disks
If you aren’t ready to make the move to an external hard-drive there are always other ways to store your media—although it’s a bit more difficult to back up an entire computer and all media. I would warn against relying on CDs too heavily since it seems that many computers are opting to leave out a CD drive from future production. There is also the issue that CDs and other disks will degenerate over the span of 10 years.
The latest in digital media storage is the cloud—a storage space hosted by a company (such as DropBox or Amazon) where you can upload your important documents, images, songs, and whatnot to this external source. Even if your computer were to break completely, the cloud will always be able to retrieve these files. Once you’ve decided how to back up your digital media files, you need to make sure that you have a safe and secure way to store them. We suggest that you either keep your storage device (with the exception of the cloud) in a safe or a locked filing cabinet. You’ll want to make sure that whatever you use is both fire and water safe.