I have a good friend who recently lost most of her data on Dropbox. She was using Dropbox instead of her computer for storing work-related files (not genealogy related). She felt they were safe there. Until they weren’t. One day she realized that most of her files on Dropbox seemed to have vanished. She hesitated to contact them immediately, figuring it was some sort of temporary glitch or user error.
When she did contact Dropbox, they confirmed that the files and folders were gone. They offered no explanation. And they informed her that they delete files that haven’t been touched in 30 days. They offered her nothing in terms of assistance. And they did all that via email, declining to give my friend a telephone number for customer support. I was really shocked and disappointed.
Luckily, my friend uses Carbonite and her Dropbox account was included in the backup. So she was able to restore the files lost by Dropbox to her computer.
That got me thinking about how horrible I would feel if I lost my digital genealogy records (or most of my digital files, for that matter). I’ve developed a back-up scheme that makes me comfortable, but I’d be very interested to hear from you about how you ensure that your data are protected.
I store all my data on my hard drive. (I have a perhaps irrational fear of storing things only in the cloud.) My family tree info is in Reunion. My scanned files are in my Genealogy folder, filed by surname. I do have an Ancestry.com tree, but it’s a supplement to what I have on my hard drive.
I back up my hard drive every 15 minutes with CrashPlan Pro. When my MacBook is at my desk at home, I have it plugged into an external hard drive. I use Time Machine to back up hourly as well.
There are some things in my genealogy life that aren’t fully backed up. Some of my items on Evernote, for example, aren’t stored on my hard drive. This blog is backed up to Dropbox daily. (I felt better about that before my friend’s Dropbox experience.)
I feel secure with this system, but I fear it’s a false sense of security. I’d love to hear from you. How do you back up your genealogy data?