According to statistics, 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States every week. And with 900 billion photos being uploaded every year, photographers need to make sure they are keeping their files safe. Still, over 30% of people have never backed up their data, and only 10% safeguard their files weekly. This information led the team at Reviews.com to believe that more people, especially photographers, need to be informed about the importance of backing up their files.
Getting a cloud backup solution that suits your need is not as easy as it sounds. With no backup, the risk of losing the data is high, especially if the laptop or storage device gets destroyed or stolen (a photographer’s worst nightmare). Most people will realize the importance of data backup when it is too late, and they have lost data. Those who have lost data will be looking for a solution and cloud is one of them. The best backup solution is one that is easy to use, has an automatic backup, and is safe.
There are many benefits for photographers to have an online data backup service. One advantage is that it is easy to access the data at any time and from any location. Also, in case you lose the local storage drive or it is stolen, you can restore them to your new location from the online backup. Old ways of backups are good but they cannot be compared to an online backup. Off-site storage is recommended. Applying the “Backup Rule of Three” will help make the right solution.
Some of the people that find it hard to choose an online backup solution are photographers. A photographer is always taking photos of high resolution, and some photos may be as big as 20MB. Reviews.com has done the research for you to find the best online backup service to choose.
If you want to learn more about creating a backup workflow that works for your business, the ebook Backup or Die – How to Keep Your Photos Safe is a good resource from Photography Concentrate.
How they did the review
The team tested 36 different online backup services, comparing and contrasting the storage capacity, transfer speed and overall user experience. To get a well-rounded perspective, they consulted IT security experts and personally tested the finalists by analyzing their security, customer support services, and usability. They reviewed some popular storage services such as Dropbox to some names that are not known. Their focus was on complete backup of a computer.
The following actions helped Reviews.com select the best backup solution. Some will not be considered because this article focuses on photographers specifically. Those that directly eliminate photographers have been left out such as the elimination of online services tailored for personal use.
The storage capacity
The storage space is one the factors that is of high priority that needs to be considered. It is obvious that online backup services cannot lack space. The question is how much storage is enough? The minimum should be 1 TB. If an online backup service offers less than 1 TB of storage, then eliminate it from a possible backup solution. The best are those that provide unlimited storage at no extra cost. As a photographer, he/she will need more data storage space and even 1 TB may not be enough. Just a quick math to justify it, an average high definition photo is about 5 to 10 MB in size. With one terabyte of storage, 100000 to 200000 photos can be stored. A photo session will have an average of 100 to 200 photos. This is a good amount of storage but will run out in a few years or a year for those that take a lot of pictures.
When a computer crashes, it causes panic and frustration. This is the last thing a photographer wants to deal with. Since computers do crash from time to time, you want to be prepared for anything. Therefore, customer service is key when searching for the best online backup service. A service provider that has poor customer service will be of no help in case you mess up. When you encounter a problem, you want to pick up the phone and get some help from them as fast as possible rather than figuring it out yourself, without knowing what to do. You’ll want to check forums, email them to measure their response time, try online chat if they have such services, check if they have an easy to follow guide on their website and FAQs section.
Level of security
As a photographer looking to backup online, know that there are no 100% security solutions. Everything online is vulnerable to security threats. Security is an aspiration and not an attainable solution. Many security breaches are partly on the users and their devices. Therefore, as a photographer, be aware of this. Check for the kind of encryption and go for one that is hard to crack such as AES 256. The higher the number of bits used for encryption, the better the security. A good online backup service provider should offer you the option to generate private keys. This has better security because the keys are not stored on their servers.
Apart from issues relating to passwords and encryption, there are other forms of security. A good online backup service should allow versioning, where you can save multiple versions of the same file. This is important for photographers as they can have several versions and revert to the old ones if needed. Another security issue you should consider is the ability to simultaneously backup to the cloud and external hard drive. For absolute security, especially if you have highly confidential photos, ensure the backup service provider offers good encryption, versioning, and simultaneous backup services.
Ease of use
Sufficient data storage space, customer service, and security may be excellent, but accessing your photos may be a nightmare. An excellent online service provider should let a photographer have an easy time using their service. As a photographer, you are trying to do your work as quickly and efficiently as possible. It should not be another mind-twisting task to add to your already demanding job. Convenience and user friendliness should be critical factors to consider. Some of the things to look out for is whether the backup service provider allows multiple computers to a single plan, the number of compatible operating systems, and easy to use desktop and mobile app.
Online backup service providers
Based on these factors, and the reviews on various online backup service providers, here are some of the best you can choose.
IDrive offers the easiest way to upload data. Photos backup is the key business. Among all the service providers compared by Reviews.com, IDrive was the second fastest in transfer speeds. Previewing of the photos to make sure that you are uploading the right one is easy using the web app. Other strong points that will suit a photographer is the ease of scheduling backup. Immediately when photos are uploaded they are saved, which minimizes chances of losing data. The desktop app presents a lot of information, for instance, it has an upload progress bar that shows how long the upload and download will take. File restoration is easy as long as you know where it is located. There is an unlimited number of devices that can be used with the same subscription. Security level is good and supports Windows and Linux OS. I like the phone backup options as well as a wireless local backup option. IDrive is my top pick – try the 5GB plan for free to test it out.
SOS Online Backup
When upload speed is the key concern, you should consider SOS Online backup services. They have the fastest transfer speeds than all the others that were reviewed by Reviews.com. The interface is very basic. Their web portal is the easiest to use than the desktop app. They provide quite a lot of information on their website and have an excellent FAQs section. Their security features include AES 256 encryption, private key option, and versioning. However, their services are expensive than most of the backup providers reviewed.
A photographer with sensitive photos and needs high levels of security, SpiderOakONE online back is the one to choose. They offer the best security features, and even Edward Snowden acknowledges it. Once a file is uploaded, only the person with your account details can access it. The transfer speed is impressive. One will need to install their software before using the web. However, their service is costly with a monthly fee of $12. Furthermore, the interface is not as easy to use, so beginners beware.
Acronis is ideal for photographers that want to access their photos and backup regularly. They have an excellent user interface making their backup service easy to use. Customer service is good with very fast response time with their email support and impressive Live Chat service. However, there are some turn offs like the limit on the number of devices per subscription. It offers decent transfer speeds. But generally, it is a good online back solution.
CrashPlan is an entirely free online backup solution. Their most attractive feature is the unlimited storage and security. It is easy to use. Their speeds are not as impressive as other online backup service provider. So if speed isn’t a necessity, then this one might be a great option.
It is better to be informed when you make decisions, especially when it comes to online backup services. Now, you can choose which service is best suited for your photography needs. Read Reviews.com’s full research article here.