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Safest Data Storage: SD cards/USB stick/External Hard Drive

(23 Posts)
KatyMac Wed 16-Oct-13 10:59:16

So what should I buy?

Which is the most stable?

I do lose data from USB sticks sometimes - so if the others are better I'll buy them

MuswellHillDad Wed 16-Oct-13 11:34:51

Have you considered using a cloud based service? It does mean you need access to the internet.


Google Drive

KatyMac Wed 16-Oct-13 11:40:27

I'm storing pictures of other people children (a nursery) so I'd worry about unauthorised access & maybe them losing them

How safe are they?

edlyu Wed 16-Oct-13 11:45:15

I use all 3 but view an external hard drive as the safest in terms of degeneration of the data.

Also its much bigger and can be stored more visibly if that makes sense. I've lost sd cards simply because of their size.

And I believe usb sticks are more susceptible to corruption-although that may be because they are often used to download from a variety of sources .

KatyMac Wed 16-Oct-13 13:53:02

It's tricky isn't it

I did wonder about a CDrom but I'd need hundreds (at least I think I would)

I'll need in excess of 32gb

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 16-Oct-13 13:57:56

What you need is a NAS (Network Attached Storage). Attached to your network not Internet s no worries about security. Is basically a box with 4/5 hard drives in. It's set up with RAID so that if one hard drive dies you don't lose any data. This also means you can upgrade the hard drives easily.

niceguy2 Wed 16-Oct-13 14:35:56

Personally I'd suggest you use an online service such as Crashplan

It's about $60 a year for unlimited amount of space. I've currently got about 450GB backed up since I do wedding photography so it's imperative I have backups of every photo.

With regards to security they encrypt everything and not even their staff can decrypt the data so it's about as safe as it gets. I'd happily argue the chances of unauthorised access is far higher with a USB/external disk that can be stolen/misplaced than a cloud based server run by professionals.

Lastly the thing I love is that it's pretty much install and forget. I've got an app on my PC. Anything i put in my photos folder just gets uploaded automatically. In other words I don't have to think and i won't forget.

lazydog Wed 16-Oct-13 17:36:22

Pick whatever you'd prefer to use for your local backup storage device and then also use an online service as a backup of your backup. All forms of data storage can fail (random loss due to failure of the hardware, or through fire, theft, flood..etc...etc...) So for anything important, make sure you have redundancy of backups and even if you do use multiple media, you still need to ensure they're not kept in one location.

KatyMac Wed 16-Oct-13 22:13:01

I already store off site - but there is so much to think about

I have very little trust in the "cloud" options. You really don't know who has access to them and they can just disappear for a variety of reasons. An external hard drive is a simple, cheap and reliable option.

If you need something that is smaller and more portable for easy storage offsite, but with greater storage capacity than CDs then think about DVD or Blu-Ray. I have a Blu-Ray writer and the dual layer discs will store 50GB each. They aren't that cheap, but they won't break the bank. DVDs are lot cheaper, but will store less than 5GB per disk.

niceguy2 Thu 17-Oct-13 09:50:13

Trust is obviously key and hence why you should pick a reputable company. Blind mistrust of all things 'cloud' however would be foolish.

I think you also have to put into context the information you are storing and what the real value is to a potential hacker.

Let's say I'm a hacker. If I went to the trouble of hacking through the multiple firewalls and 448bit blowfish encryption, would I really want to 'steal' a bunch of photos that have no value? In my case they'd be able to steal the wedding photos I've taken. Big whoop whoop. Who'd they sell them to? The couple already have them!

Let's face it, so many of us now have Internet banking, paypal accounts etc. They're much bigger targets.

An external drive is local and of course immediate. But I'd argue there's much more chance of something bad happening to the drive than a cloud server.

lazydog Fri 18-Oct-13 02:02:01

"I think you also have to put into context the information you are storing and what the real value is to a potential hacker." <--- This!

I wouldn't put anything financially sensitive or any docs containing info that could be use for identity theft on the likes of Dropbox, but I'm happy enough to have my family pics on their servers, or other stuff that I like to be able to access no matter where I'm traveling, but that would be worthless and deadly boring to a stranger.

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 03:02:13

But do consider replacing an external drive when the warranty is due to expire. Mine expired 4 months ago. Bloody thing failed tonight and won't boot.

KatyMac Fri 18-Oct-13 08:36:53

Oh dear Bearhug - how sad

EBearhug Fri 18-Oct-13 10:01:44

I think it's probably mechanical and the data will be okay, and anyway, it's just the back up disk and nearly everything is available elsewhere, so it's all going to be fine.

I hope.

Currently, I am mostly annoyed at having to fix eork-like stuff at home.

MuswellHillDad Fri 18-Oct-13 18:20:09

If you're wedded to having a disk and not convinced that the cloud is secure enough, then look into having the folders and files sitting in an encrypted folder. If you loose the USB/disk then you can be pretty certain the files won't be opened.

studyinghard Mon 21-Oct-13 08:42:44

+1 for Crashplan (that's what I use). There are also others, e.g. Carbonite which are reliable. In terms of security, you may want to consider the TNO (Trust No-One) options, e.g. for Crashplan In that case, if you lose the key, then no-one can decrypt your data so you will need to ensure that is kept in a secure place(s).

And whenever we talk about secure places, it's always master, local mirror(s), and off-site mirrors. If the building burns down and you have no off-site backup, you're in trouble. I don't know how you currently backup off-site. It may be that you use a backup service to back up incrementally and fully to DVDs, etc. but that is time consuming and costly in itself.

One final point, if you back-up, have a plan to test your back-ups periodically to ensure that the process is working, regardless of the mechanism that you use, from each of the back-up locations, i.e. retrieve files from the back-ups, etc. - do what you would need to do if you genuinely had to recover your data.

KatyMac Mon 21-Oct-13 13:25:43

At the moment I do a monthly backup & copy my data to a usb then give it to my dad to look after. He does the same for me.

It's not perfect but it works for data; but photos are such a pain and there are so many

lazydog Mon 21-Oct-13 19:25:15

Sounds like Crashplan's free product would be perfect for you, where they don't give you any storage on their servers. It's this one: and you install it on yours and your dad's PCs and set them up to automatically back up to each other's machines (encrypted, so he couldn't view your files and vice-versa!)

lazydog Mon 21-Oct-13 19:25:42

KatyMac Tue 22-Oct-13 08:02:02

I emailed my dad to see what he thinks but there might be other people I could use - let me think

I quite like that idea

I don't think the warranty on a hard disk is a good reason for replacing the disk. As the warranty doesn't cover your data, your chances of recovering your data after a failure are precisely the same whether it is in or out of warranty.

You really need multiple backups. I have mirrored disks in a NAS box as my primary backup, so I have to lose 3 disks before I lose any of my backed up data.

My wife's precious photo collection is also stored on dual layer Blu-Ray disks a long way off site, including a set in New Zealand.

The major weakness in my current backup arrangements is that the backup schedule is somewhat erratic.

EBearhug Tue 22-Oct-13 09:07:18

You really need multiple backups.

It depends on your data. If I really lost all mine, I have hard copies of most important documents, or I've emailed copies to myself elsewhere. It would be annoying to lose my msin HDD, but not a disaster. If I ran my own business, it would be different, but I don't.

Besides, setting up RAID and everything is way too much like work. I do have scheduled backups, though, and have done random test restores, which still feels like work.

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