Photographing The Natural World

This is why you shouldn’t use a cloud service for backup

(8/24/17) Here’s what I don’t understand about using a cloud-based backup service.  It’s all the rage lately, and I can’t figure out why.

Imagine if one day some 20-year-old kid in Chuck Taylors wearing his backward ball cap with his jeans hanging down around his knees bangs on your door and says “Give me all your digital images and I’ll store them for you!”  You gonna say “Sure, come on in!”?  But this is just what you’re doing when you “trust” your images to a cloud based service.

Total lunacy!

Sure, most companies mean well, are completely honest and trustworthy, but nonetheless operate at the pleasure of reliable data center hosts, physical servers, boards-of-directors, banks, and least controllable, market forces.  Remember Digital Railroad in 2008?  What a trainwreck! (No pun intended.)  One day we all woke up one sunny October morning and POOF!  Naive photographers lost thousands of images that were never recovered. Gone.  Lost forever.  Entire sports photo agencies relied on Digital Railroad for on-line digital commerce and it all went right down the drain.  Then there’s Amazon backup.  Gone.  Amazon?  The deepest pockets on the planet closes?  If that’s not the writing on the wall for not using an online backup…


The latest? CrashPlan is tits up as of this morning.  OK, so even if a seemingly smooth transition can be structured by honest people to allow photographers time to move their images, why subject yourself to that possible misery?  Scrambling to find alternatives to cloud-based storage is not revenue-generating activity.  It’s unnecessary and…completely avoidable!

I wouldn’t touch a cloud-based service with a ten-foot pole.  Not even for duplicative or convenience backup.  We haven’t yet discussed the dishonest folk out there, who would think nothing of selling your images to third parties unbeknownst to you.  Or “licensing” your images for pennies.  I have received ledgers of my sales with a well-known sports photo agency that indicated some of my basketball shots were “licensed” for literally $1.50.  Who the hell makes these decisions?  What use of my basketball images is worth only $1.50?  That’s basically giving them away.

Put your big-boy pants on and back up your work locally.  Buy some external disk drives, mirror them, (create two drives for each segment of work) and store one set in a bank safety deposit box.  Done.  Cheap.  Controllable by YOU.  I would not even use a RAID system.  Expensive and not for the technically faint-of-heart.  This RAID system will someday be replaced with a new-and-improved technology and, well, there you go.

Please; just say no.  Cloud based storage is the worst idea ever.

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