Monday, April 13, 2009

Online Photo Storage Offers Protection

Digital photography has reduced the incremental cost of taking photos to near zero. But the value of the photos themselves remains, as ever, what they mean to the photographer. That can range anywhere from trivial to priceless. Why take a chance that you'll lose an image you can't replace when protection is so very cheap?

The usual way we protect our electronic images is by copying them from camera to computer hard drive. Then by making a backup copy on CD ROM or DVD ROM. You might even make an extra copy on a USB solid state drive for both protection and portability. These methods ensure that you don't accidentally erase your photos. But they're inadequate to protect from other disasters. A fire or tornado strikes with little warning and can destroy computers, backup disks, solid state drives and other local storage facilities in one fell swoop.

For an extra layer of protection, consider online picture storage. This is just what it sounds like. You upload your photos to a remote site where a redundant copy is kept. When you want one or more files back, you download it.

Sure, you can accomplish pretty much the same thing by making multiple CD ROMs of your photos and sending one copy to a relative, sending it to a far away plant site, or putting it in a safe deposit box. But, in practice, how rigorous are any of us in keeping up with this. Chances are that you'll have at least some recent pictures that reside only on your PC hard drive and nowhere else. They've already been deleted from the camera to make room for more photos.

In addition to having a remote site to back things up to, it's also valuable to have software that takes care of the back-up process automatically. That way forgetfulness is removed from the equation. Your files are safely squirreled away without you having to think about it.

Another nice feature is encryption. That's not always so important for snapshots, but what works for pictures also works for personal data files of all sorts. By encrypting the files during upload and download and then encrypting them on the remote disc, you've got protection against hackers and other snoops.

All of these features are available from Mozy Online Backup. The personal entry level product offers free backup software and 2 GB of remote storage gratis. You don't even need a credit card to take advantage of this service. If you decide you want more than 2 GB, you can get unlimited personal online storage for pictures, music and data files for $4.95 a month.

For business users there's an upgrade called MozyPro. This service is available with licenses for anywhere from a few to as many seats as you need. There's also a MozyPro for Mac computers as well as PCs, and both Windows and Mac servers.

Regardless of whether you're an occasional amateur or dedicated professional photographer, consider the low cost protection option of online picture storage with Mozy backup services.

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