Think Before You Sync

22 Nov

Sync ArrowsiCloud. Dropbox. SkyDrive. Google Drive. Amazon Cloud Drive. These are just some of the cloud storage services available to you to sync your invaluable family photos to The Cloud: an automatic storage place that someone else is in charge of backing up and helping secure. Convenient, right? Right. But a weak password or confusion about how syncing works can make it hazardous to your photos’ safety.

When you sync files, rather than just upload a backup of your data, if a person or another syncing device deletes the files you keep in the Cloud, they will be deleted from your computer the next time you sync. And if synced files are your only backup, you are out of luck, my friend. (The Cloud shouldn’t be your only backup, either, because services change all the time. Two different sites I’ve used to upload my photos are no longer available.)

I have an awful lot of data on my computer, and I’d be sorry to lose any of it, but my photos are absolutely, positively the data I never want to lose. I’m sure I’d bounce back eventually if it happened, but I’d be devastated for a time. The Cloud service I use offers two ways to get data to and from the e-stratosphere: uploading/downloading and syncing. I sync my photos (because I want them backed up in a third place) and upload or download any other files that I want to share with others individually (because in my case, the other files are usually temporary information I’m sharing, not files I need another copy of).

I use Memory Manager (available now as Panstoria Historian) to organize my photos, and recently I purchased enough Cloud space to hold the over 36,000 photos I keep. I set the service up to sync my Memory Vault. It took 2 days to upload everything, and I’ve got a pretty darned fast connection! Not long afterward, I realized that if anyone hacked my account and messed up or deleted my photo files (or if I messed them up myself while perusing my storage in a browser), the next time I synced with my computer the damage would be duplicated in my home! So I have changed the way I sync: Instead of syncing my Memory Vault, I now sync a folder on my external hard drive that contains the Shadow Copy backup of my Memory Vault. Further, I check my cloud storage with a browser before syncing to make sure nothing looks amiss.

Backup Illustration

This is my backup plan. Because everyone’s data is quite different and of different importance to them, a good plan for you might look, well, quite different. Click on the picture for a larger image.

Yes, I treat my photos like the overprotective mother that I am. I even have another external drive that I keep at a relative’s house–I back up to that one about twice a year. And still the best backup is the prints I keep in my albums.

Syncing is such a convenient way to make sure you have another copy of your important files, available from any connected device. Just make sure you understand it so that those files aren’t inadvertently lost.

© Carolyn Gordon and Cropping with Care, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Carolyn Gordon is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carolyn Gordon and Cropping with Care with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Carolyn Gordon is an independent consultant and the opinions and content on this site are not necessarily endorsed by Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories. Memory Manager is a trademark of Creative Memories. iCloud is a trademark of Apple Inc. Dropbox is a trademark of Dropbox, Inc. SkyDrive is a trademark of Microsoft Corp. Google Drive is a trademark of Google Inc. Amazon Cloud Drive is a trademark of, Inc. Panstoria Historian is a trademark of Panstoria, Inc.

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