A lot of people consider using hard drives for a long term backup solution. The main advantages they offer are that they’re cheap and come in large capacities. However, if using hard drives in the long term then factors have to be considered: are they reliable to store data for years? Where are the best places to store them? What sort of precautions should be taken? All of these questions will be answered in this article.
First, let’s tackle the issue of how reliable a hard drive is in storage. The bottom line is there’s not a definitive answer about how reliable hard drives are. This all becomes even less clear when you’re considering hard drives that are unplugged and not in use. According to Lifehacker, a typical hard drive warranty will run about five years. That’s a manufacturer number that’s considering constant use, so if a drive was to be used for backup, stored away in a safe place, then that number should increase. Lifehacker reckons that seven or eight years of life can be expected. A solid state drive might theoretically last longer, but even that can only give a strong eight or nine year life.
Because of all this, it’s vital that you regularly check that the data is intact and that you refresh it periodically. This means moving the data to a brand new drive. In fact, the best practice is to have the data stored on multiple drives. That way, if one of them fails then you have an extra backup and a peace of mind.
It is very important that you store the drives in the right environment. Magnetic fields have disastrous effects on HDDs (SSDs are affected only by supermagnets) and could cause the data to corrupt. Also, a HDD is full of mechanical components that could fail under the wrong temperatures. Storing your drive between 50 and 100 degrees is advisable.
You also need to consider security. Your data is private and you don’t want it falling into the wrong hands. As such, putting the drive in a safe deposit box is the minimum. You could go one step further and place it somewhere like a fireproof (and waterproof!) safe to protect it from any environmental disaster. Not only this, but encrypt all the data on the hard drive just to add an extra layer of protection.
As should always be the case when buying storage devices, buy only high quality products. Your data is obviously precious if you’re backing it up, so don’t cut costs by storing it on dodgy hard drives. Get the best warranty protection you can and buy a brand name product from a reliable manufacturer.
Using drives as a backup solution is a viable option, but it’d be even better when paired with other approaches. You could, for example, also store everything in the cloud using services like Dropbox or Drive. Alternatively, you could use a professional data backup company who will take all of the aforementioned considerations into mind. They will ensure that your data is protected from deterioration and environmental decay. Whatever approach you decide to check, remember to regularly check that your data is still functional.
Long Term Backup Drive Storage
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