Magazine Article


Protect Your Business: Store Backup Digital Files Offsite


Protect Your Business:
Store Backup Digital Files Offsite

Play It Safe, Back It Up, Move It Out


Think Memory Fire-n-Ice Hard Drive

When was the last time you backed up your hard drive or your digital images? The recent events in New York City have caused me to reexamine our studio backup strategies and storage methods in the event of a disaster. If you haven't already done so, it would be wise to do the same.
First, take stock of your situation: Where are your backup files located? Do you keep them at your studio? Do you have duplicate copies at another location? Are they backed up onto a hard drive? CD? ZIP? Are they media archival? Where are all your transparencies? Negatives? Have you had them scanned? How long will they last? Where are your archival prints? How about those old family photographs?
Even prior to September 11, we would write everything to CD and send them to an offsite storage facility in New Jersey. All the images from my portfolio and archives that are "active"—meaning, we need direct access to them or they are particularly valuable—are stored on Firewire hard drives from Think Memory.
What I like about these drives is that they are cross-platform compatible (Mac & Windows), store 20-75+GB, have a three-year limited warranty, are Hot-swappable and Plug & Play, have fast Firewire Transfer Rates (30-45MB per second), and they're lightweight. I always keep my portable 30GB in my purse. I am grateful my most recent digital photo shoots were backed up to these drives.
For info on these drives, visit
Incidentally, it's just as essential to have duplicate copies of traditional photography media in a digital format. Currently, we have over 500 images being scanned to CD so that the images can be entered into our image database, copyrighted, and stored digitally in two locations.

Backup vs. Recovery
Many photographers, especially the small-studio owners, tend to view data backup as more important. Large corporations often view data recovery as more important. A recent industry study found that 90 percent of companies that experienced data-recovery problems were out of business within 18 months. Most of these were small companies. Many large companies I've worked with focus on getting 100 percent of their data recovered as rapidly as possible. They cannot afford to lose data, and neither can you. Your images are your livelihood!
So backups are great, and recovering all your data effectively and efficiently is ideal. Be sure to have your data in two different locations just in case the unthinkable
happens . . . again.

Traditional vs. Online Storage
Traditional storage companies will store your paper files, photographs, negatives, transparencies, and basically whatever you put in boxes. Located across the U.S., these companies are in fireproof, floodproof buildings with vaults.
There are also online storage companies, which allocate storage space on their servers for a monthly fee. Most of these facilities have second and third backup servers throughout the U.S., plus you can access your data from anywhere, via a web browser, should the need arise. The downside is these services are usually very costly, so be vigilant in selecting a company with high-end equipment and security.
The moral of the story: You must store your data—in two different locations—in a way that works for you today and in the future.

Helene DeLillo is a digital imaging artist and photographer based in Tribeca, New York. She can be reached in her studio at
212/334-6705 or by email at