2. Safe Storage (Physical)
a. In your studio or workshop, store documents, discs and removable data-storage devices in fireproof, waterproof, portable storage containers (for examples, google “fireproof container”).
Have two sizes of safe containers: one, possibly larger, for archival materials that you would like to keep but are not necessarily vital to the continuity of your career/business; and a second, smaller container that you can easily pick up and take with you in an emergency. This smaller container — we’ll call it a “quick-grab recovery archive” — will contain all the career- and business-related documents you would need to restart your livelihood after a disaster.
Staying organized and setting criteria for selecting what is (and is not) essential is paramount to creating a functional archive of crucial data that will be quickly and easily accessible and manageable during a crisis. To keep this information updated, schedule a monthly inventory of the items you’re storing, and determine their relevance. Keep your most up-to-date information in this “quick-grab recovery archive,” rotating items out as they become obsolete to your recovery strategy.
b. In a Safe Offsite Location (SOL), store a second set. An SOL is a place to store copies of your documents and records that is far enough away from your studio (50-100 miles) that it is unlikely to be affected by the same disaster. This might be with a family member, trusted friend, contracted service, or your Disaster Buddy.
Read a Studio Protector Blog about creating an archive of photographic materials>
3. Safe Storage (Digital)
Here is a basic strategy for protecting your computer-stored data. For more, see Backing up Your Computer: the Basics.
a. Buy two removable hard drives, each with enough data storage space for projects you're currently working on, plus data important to your career. Clearly label these “Drive One” and “Drive Two.” Back up your files to Drive One and store it somewhere safe and away from your workspace (if possible, choose a remote location that is at least 50 miles from your workspace).
Develop and stick to a backup schedule that reflects the frequency with which you alter your work and/or create new records. The next time you back up, use Drive Two. Copy everything you did before, plus any new work and documentation; then take Drive Two to your storage place and swap it with Drive One.
Follow this procedure of swapping out the drives so that the one in safe storage always contains your most current information.
b. CD/DVD backup or removable hard drive:
If buying two removable hard drives is cost prohibitive, consider investing in one removable drive that you take home with you, store remotely or keep in your “quick-grab recovery archive.” At minimum, buy CDs or DVDs and copy your most up to date information onto them. Label the disks (date, data menu, etc.) and take them home or store them in your quick-grab archive. Replace these according to the guidelines previously outlined, making sure your data disks are current.
c. Online backup:
Online backup service is an option for automating the duplication and storage of your digital records. Online backup is the transfer of data directly from your computer to a remote storage facility via a phone line, cable or wireless connection. Online backup works best if you have a high-speed internet connection that can transfer large amounts of data without interruption.
Look carefully at the various companies that offer online backup service, to find one that offers the best suite of services for your needs and budget. Online backup is different from storing your images and information to a website or online service such as a registry, gallery, hosting site or social networking site. The main difference will be in the resolution of images and work samples you may have uploaded. Most uploaded work samples to the types of sites mentioned are low-resolution, to accommodate quick user download (72dpi jpgs are most common for images). Low-resolution work is not optimal for archival/recovery purposes, since you cannot successfully resize low-resolution images.
When storing work samples for archival/recovery purposes, raw or high-resolution format files with as little compression as possible are best. These tend to be large files, so remote storage of these files can help save space on your computer as well as be a vital part of a disaster recovery program.
Online backup services are convenient and are quickly becoming more affordable. Some companies that provide online backup services are:
SOS Online Backup
Be ready and stay safe!