I’m constantly engaging photographers about the importance of backup to their businesses. I’m very interested in their line of work as they create so much data that the new norm of on-line or “cloud” backup is impractical and prohibitively expensive.
Many solo photographers and videographers can easily amass tens of terabytes of unique data, while most service or manufacturing based small businesses have under one terabyte of unique data (even if they have 50 or more employees). Trying to transfer these large amounts of data over a standard small business DSL or Cable connection could literally take longer than it takes to create new data. Not to mention that reliable on-line backup starts at about 50¢/GB/mo at volume (that’s $500/TB per month).
For now removable hard drives are the norm, and likely only reasonable choice for smaller shops. The key is to setup a business process where backup and “replication” off-site is just another step in your day, just like uploading your data from your camera to your Mac or PC, and turning on the alarm when you leave the studio each night.
Chase Jarvis posted a fantastic video blog entry on this topic. He takes you behind the scenes on how his shop takes care of data protection. I think his setup is near ideal, and we can all learn a lot from it. However, keep in mind that every little thing helps, don’t feel like you have to go out tomorrow and replicate his setup. Make sure you have multiple copies of all data on-site first, then work the rest of your process.
If you make a living off of photos or videos, do us all a favor and spend a few hours this week setting up a strategy for protecting your data.
One of the saddest “war stories” I know was a photographer who nearly lost a RAID array housing every photo and video he’d created over the past decade. He had no backup, and a mistake was made when replacing a faulty hard drive. Luckily a major data recovery company was able to painstakingly correct the error and recover his data for a fee of $25,000, which is a lot to a small photography shop.
If you live off your content please take heed in this story and setup something today. Chase Jarvis’ video is a great start, my post on small business Disaster Recovery could also be of use.