I have had two major data scares in my life. Well, make that one scare and one actual incident. The first time was with a 500GB external drive with its own power source. It was nearly full and contained every photo I had ever taken from 2003-2010. One time I accidentally dropped something on it and it started to make a strange sound but continued to work without issue. Eventually the day came when I plugged it in and nothing happened. I had a total break down and panic attack right then and there because not a single photo was backed up anywhere. I felt numb, with a ringing in my ears and I couldn't stop crying. A silent vow was made to never take a photo again in my life.
Fortunately, a small pool of sanity remained within me and I decided to make sure the power cord hadn't gone bad before giving up on the past seven years of my life. Aaaand it was the power cord. I believe I wept tears of relief at that point and immediately purchased a second external drive (this one a tiny version that ran off of the computer's power), copied every file over and also started to burn CDs of every photo. With my images in three places I felt safe again.
But disaster was lurking around the corner. Or rather, disaster was lurking three and a half years into the future. Late November of last year I noticed that my trusty travel external was getting full. I decided to transfer some things off of it to make space for my sculpt videos, as well as other abitofgeek projects and personal photos. It was around this time that the drive decided to take a shit on itself mid-transfer. Suddenly everything was gone. Something cracked inside of me as I remembered that I hadn't burned pictures to discs in over two years, and I hadn't backed up 2013 at all. What proceeded can only be likened to the wails of a dying animal. The cat was staring at me with sheer incomprehension. I sat exhausted on the floor, once again covered in tears and with hard drives strewn about me as I desperately searched for back up copies. After all was said and done I had lost all of 2012's photos to the backstabbing external hard drive. It remains locked up awaiting potential data recovery.
This is part dramatic (but accurate) retelling, part cautionary tale, and part question. I'm looking for some better, safer options. I've tried looking into cloud storage before but it seems very expensive. Google's is $85/month for 1TB (more specifically it's $0.085/GB up to 1TB), Amazon is comparable in pricing, and that is just more than I can afford.
How do YOU backup your precious data? Does anyone use cloud storage? And can anyone recommend affordable options? How do you secure your irreplaceable data?
*header and preview images from Penny Arcade