Have you heard of drop-drive-fobia? It’s the fear of dropping your hard drive and losing all of your files.
Ok…I made that name up. But the phobia is all too real. Just ask my nightmares.
Where did my drop-drive-fobia come from? Film school. My peer lost his entire grad film the day before our final screening. Let’s call him John.
John had worked tirelessly on his project and had spent a lot of money on it. But he only had it backed up on one hard drive. And walking down the stairs one day (the day before the screening) he dropped it.
I’ve always admired John because instead of bursting into tears and panic like I would, he scraped together a new film in one day so he’d have something to show. And, it wasn’t half bad.
Perhaps you can afford to let something like this happen in film school. But once you’re out in the real world this simple mistake can be the difference between having a video advertisement that markets the s**t out of you, or pouring your hard earned cash down the drain. Considering the price to get a professional video made, proper back-ups are a small investment that pays off enormously.
I’ve had clients come back to me a year later asking for changes to be made to their video, only to find they don’t have the video any more because it was only backed up on one hard drive that, you guessed it: died, or got lost, or was borrowed and never returned.
Here’s how you can keep your files safe:
- First, hard drives die. Let me say that again for all of you out there who are resisting. Hard drives, like most things in the universe, will die. And it’s probably going to die sooner than you think. Generally speaking you can depend on your hard drives for two to five years. However, this is not a hard rule. I still use some hard drives I’ve had for ten years, and I’ve bought others that have died in six months. Sure, different brands last longer, and portable hard drives are less reliable, but again, it’s not a hard and fast rule. At the end of the day it’s the luck of the draw.
- Don’t only back up your files on a transportable drive. These drives die faster. Just the fact that they’re getting knocked around in your bag will reduce their lifespan.
- Don’t fill your hard drives to the brink. Full hard drives are more likely to die. Consider 80% full your max.
- Have at least two backups in two different physical places. This is to protect against things like fire or flood, or that clumsy coffee spill at your desk. (Not again Steve!!)
- Keeping one physical copy and one cloud copy is also a good way to go. However, don’t assume having just a cloud copy will be safe. Technical mistakes happen, like accidentally deleting all of your google drive files permanently (literally happened to me last week). Apps have their own quirks; don’t risk it.
- Here is our system at See Together Media: two physical copies (on external drives), one cloud copy (on either dropbox, vimeo, or google drive). This way we know everything is safe, and as soon as a hard drive dies we replace that backup. This means that it is very unlikely that anything will be backed up to only one place at any one time.
We at See Together Media always keep three backups of all files for a minimum of one year, and after that it costs $50 to keep your files with us for an additional year. Considering that’s two external drive backups and one cloud backup, that’s not too bad!
Play it safe folks! And may the hard drive gods look down on you in favour.