USB Hard Drive Usage

by on November 20, 2009

Q: Is a USB hard drive a safe and secure way to store photos?

A: USB hard drives are not safe or secure by themselves. The reason USB external hard drives are not safe is because the hard drive can become corrupted causing you to lose your data. This is true for almost any media though so you always want to make sure you have your data  in at least two locations at all times.

Since you always want to have your data in two locations at all time this means you will need to make sure to backup the data on the external USB hard drive just like you would on your computer. The reason USB external hard drives are not secure is because they are very portable and someone can easily grab onto it and walk away with it.  We will assume that you will only be using your device in your own home though so that wont be much of an issue in this case.

USB hard drives are great for backing up data from a single computer but are not an ideal solution for storing the only copy of your photos or backing up multiple computers. I would suggest you look at a network hard drive keeping in mind that you will need two of them because for data to be safe it has to be in two locations at all times. I know that might sound silly to have to get two NAS (network attached storage) hard drives but if you want to make sure your data is secure then you have to have it in two places.

The most reliable solution is to get two network hard drives and setup one as the backup. This allows you to access one network accessible hard drive from all your computers to backup your computers to and to store your data on. Then you can setup that first one to copy over all the data to the second one every night. Most of these networked hard drives support this but you will want to double check before jumping in. You can also get just one network hard drive that supports a USB backup and then you can get a USB hard drive that you will backup to the network hard drive and backup that way too.

So there are many options but using a single USB hard drive to store the only copy of your photos is not a good idea and will lead to a sad day where all your pictures could be lost. We suggest you take the time and research this fully and we are confident you can get a 1 TB or 2 TB setup for under $400.00 that will keep your photos safe from data failure.

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