Author Topic: WARNING about Cloud Backup  (Read 2418 times)

Offline Erica McPhee

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WARNING about Cloud Backup
« on: November 09, 2017, 12:11:20 PM »
This is just a cautionary tale...

I use dropbox to keep all of my files stored. I used to use external Hard Drives but have had 3 fail over the years and lost all of the images I stored on them. DVDs get corrupted all the time. I thought I was all set just keeping my files stored on DropBox and I wouldn't have to worry about any other copy. I disproved that this morning...

I was trying to sort photographs using Adobe Bridge and selected several at once and then "Move to" and went to create a new folder. When I tried to rename the folder, it blinked several times and then Poof something happened and I was dumped back to Bridge. Except my file folder was no longer there.

I panicked and started looking for the "My Pictures" folder which contained over 10,000 photographs from the past 12 years or so of my family's life. It was NO WHERE to be found. I went to DropBox online and found it in the DELETED files section!!!!! What???! In one split second, every one of my photos was gone.

Luckily, DropBox has a restore function and I was able to restore them. However, they had been wiped from my computer so I had to resync that folder which is taking forever to get those 10,000 files restored on my computer.

Hopefully everything is still there. But how scary is that?! Now I need to rethink another back up option. If I hadn't noticed the files missing who knows if I would have been able to get them back. DropBox does have a reset request option which requires help by an assistant but I am uneasy thinking my photos could be deleted in a split second. I will still use DropBox of course, but I need a Plan B, too.

Any considerations? :o
Truly, Erica
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Offline AAAndrew

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 12:32:42 PM »
Belt and suspenders. I back up both to a cloud service (Amazon's allows unlimited pictures if you're a Prime member. I don't use their Prime Photos but just store my photos organized in folders through their regular cloud drive interface), as well as a two-disk raid system. A two-disk Raid 1 system is basically two identical drives where you write to one and it keeps an identical copy on the second as a redundancy in case one drive fails. So, it's basically, hard drive, back up Raid1 hard drive, cloud drive. With external hard drives being so ridiculously cheap, at least compared to losing everything, it makes sense to me.

As an example of how inexpensive, you can get a Seagate 8TB backup plus hub for $179 on Amazon. Get two of them and they chain together very nicely and you can use your computer's own disk utility to create a Raid system.

That's a very scary moment you went through. I've been there, done that, got the grey hairs from it. Your computer should also have a recovery capability, so if something gets deleted it is still available in the "trash" at least for a while.

Good luck!
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Offline Jamie

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2017, 01:13:39 PM »
That sounds to me like it wasn’t a problem with Dropbox. That sounds like Adobe Bridge managed to mess up your move and wiped everything. Dropbox then just did it’s sync, read the folder as deleted and synced that to its folder. Dropbox’s restore functionality is what saved you. 

Personally I use Syncplicity because they’re folder sync features are better than Dropbox, but they would have likely responded similarly in this situation.

You should be able to trust cloud back-up to have your files in all but the most extreme situations. But if you really want to doubly make sure you’re safe, then AAAndrew’s solution is the way to go.

Offline Ergative

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 01:45:13 PM »
I have dropbox set to sync between three different machines. One of them is off at any one time, so if anything were to go wonky with Dropbox itself, I could just unplug the other from the internet and turn it on, and recover the files from there. I think your story is a good cautionary tale of why one physical plus one cloud backup--especially if they're set to sync to each other--might be problematic.
Clara

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 06:11:38 PM »
That sounds like an excellent plan @AAAndrew . I did not know Amazon offered that. I have prime and I shop A LOT on amazon.  ;D I will definitely be looking into this. And I like the idea of a 3 tier system.

Yes - @Jamie !!! That is *exactly* what happened! I have not heard of syncplicity either so I will be investigating.

Another good approach @Ergative Clair. I have it to sync with different machines but because my photos are so data heavy, I only have those sync to my computer, not my laptop.

I knew you all would have good suggestions. Thank you!  ;D
Truly, Erica
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Offline neriah

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 04:04:42 AM »
There is also another option - never do anything directly in dropbox folder because I doubt dropbox would fail on its own, usually something else messes it up. So just copy files you want to modify and return them to dropbox folder after finished. Or have separate folder in dropbox which is work in progress so that you can't easily modify "read-only" things. I personally don't use dropbox but have one external HDD which I use only to store things away, I never do any work directly on it. Since it is only used for periodical writes, I expect it to last quite long. I know this is not the safest method but I don't have much data I find really important so it works for me.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2017, 08:21:25 AM »
That is definitely worth consideration. I thought I was saving myself a step by just having everything under the dropbox folder. But I will have to give this more thought. Thank you!
Truly, Erica
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Offline Tasmith

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 09:55:40 AM »
For my photography business, I back up on two separate hard drives and DVDs.  I use WD internal hard drives mounted on a docking station to my computer.  I store the hard drives in hard drive protection boxes that are anti-static and "shock proof".  I back up my work in progress as I go on a small external hard drive.  Multiple backs ups on different platforms are helpful in case one goes bad.  I'm considering also backing up each client's job a thumb drive.

I recently read on LinkedIn that 40% of business' that use the Cloud have stopped and now store on site now.
Todd

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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2017, 07:36:13 AM »
Interesting! Did it say why they stopped using the cloud?

I did not even think of the anti-static and shock proof issues. I lost two WD (an older klunky version and one of the newer ones) & one SeaGate hard drive (external) - just boom one day stopped working (over the course of 10 years). Maybe the static issue. And I have had more DVDs fail than not. So I really don't consider either one of those a reliable back up. But I like your idea of the two internal and the DVDs altogether.

I also think the independent client thumb drive back ups are a great idea. Thanks Todd!

I'm beginning to think another good back up is to print every image as a "paper negative."

For my photography business, I back up on two separate hard drives and DVDs.  I use WD internal hard drives mounted on a docking station to my computer.  I store the hard drives in hard drive protection boxes that are anti-static and "shock proof".  I back up my work in progress as I go on a small external hard drive.  Multiple backs ups on different platforms are helpful in case one goes bad.  I'm considering also backing up each client's job a thumb drive.

I recently read on LinkedIn that 40% of business' that use the Cloud have stopped and now store on site now.
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline AAAndrew

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 07:55:50 AM »
Just have to say I find that cloud statistic a little difficult to believe. I work in IT and what I see is more and more companies using the cloud not just for storage, but to replace the big server rooms and data centers they used to maintain themselves. I don’t work for a cloud provider, it’s just what I’m seeing from my limited vantage point. The cloud is safe and stable, especially the big players. Amazon, Apple or Google aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Local and cloud combined are a good mixture. Local can be taken out by a lightening strike, flood, for, break-in. But local is faster and more convenient. At least for now.

If you rely on just local, make sure you keep copies somewhere off-site, so any of the above problems won’t be devastating. IT professionals, for their own stuff, tend to keep two drives rotating back and forth from their off-site (like a safe deposit box at the bank). Make a backup at home, take it off site and swap, bring the old one home. Wipe it, run diagnostics and make another backup to swap with the first one which is now off-site. Do this regularly if you generate a lot of data, or less often if you don’t. Think about how much of your data you can tolerate losing.

If you’ve been working with computers long enough, you get to see hardware failure first hand. If you’re not prepared, it can be devastating.
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Offline Tasmith

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2017, 09:15:34 AM »
Don't recall why the companies stopped using the Cloud.

Yes, static will destroy modern electronics very quickly.

Another issue with computer hardware going bad prematurely is the quality of the electricity from your local power company.  The be safe(r) you need a quality battery back up with surge protection and voltage regulation. I have an APC brand https://www.bestbuy.com/site/apc-back-ups-rs-1300va-tower-ups-black/1200193.p?skuId=1200193 and I hear it catching power surges several times a month.  In some areas household voltage is higher that 115-120 vac.  Too high voltage will wear on equipment and cause failures.  The voltage regulation takes the over voltage and lowers it to what it should be.

I bought a "Kill-A-Watt" power meter https://www.homedepot.com/p/P3-International-Kill-A-Watt-EZ-Meter-P4460/202196388 years ago to check our voltage and the power consimption of equipment.  Home Depot has them for about $30 or so.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 09:25:15 AM by Tasmith »
Todd

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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2017, 06:52:26 PM »
Thanks Andrew and Todd,

Andrew - I saw that firsthand when we evacuated for Hurricane Irma. Luckily I had my external HDs and CD cases and could fit them in the car. If I had them offsite locally though, our area was set to be under 15 feet of water so anything left behind would have been ruined. And if it hit at a Cat 5, with 185mph winds, not much would be left standing. I realize those are extremes but reinforce what you are saying about keeping offsite and a mix of both.

Todd, thank you for reminding me of that. I had a surge protector/back up battery a few years ago but somehow the battery just stopped working. Maybe it took a surge? I have been contemplating a whole house surge protection system. I'm going to get that back up in the meantime though.

Thanks everyone for all of the discussion. It has certainly helped me.  ;D
Truly, Erica
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Offline garyn

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2017, 10:56:32 PM »
For primary backup, I use external USB drives.
About every 3 months, I take a full backup of my computer then take it to the safety deposit box. backup A.
3 months later, I take another full backup of my computer then take it to the safety deposit box.  backup B
3 months later, I take another full backup of my computer then take it to the safety deposit box.  backup C
3 months later, I take another full backup of my computer then take it to the safety deposit box.  backup D
Then I use backup A to take the next backup.
. . .

So I rotate through 4 or 5 drives.
If there is a problem I have 4 generations of backup that I can go back to.

If I do anything major, I will take a backup after that.
Things like completing my tax returns, processing my nephew's wedding pix, etc.

I take FULL backups to the USB hard drive, because I do not want the hassle of recovering with incremental backups.  That hard drive has everything.

The old rule was, if you make enough changes that you do not want to do it over, take a backup.
And if it is REALLY IMPORTANT, take TWO backups, and store the backups in different physical locations.

I use external USB hard drives, because I can copy files to it faster than uploading through the internet.

I also use a cloud backup, which takes a daily incremental backup, and covers me between my USB drive backups.
But that initial cloud backup took several days to upload all the files, which I knew it would take.  So I do not do a FULL backup to the cloud, only selected important files.  Even so, I have had the daily incremental backup not complete running, after 6 hours.  This is because my upload speed is limited by the ISP.

I also do not believe in trusting to only ONE method.  Yeah, belt and suspenders.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 11:11:58 PM by garyn »
Gary

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2017, 09:10:54 AM »
That sounds like a very solid method. Thank you for sharing!  ;D
Truly, Erica
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Offline garyn

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Re: WARNING about Cloud Backup
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2017, 11:14:32 PM »
Comes from having first-hand experience with the saying...
"It isn't IF your hard drive will crash, it is WHEN your hard drive will crash."
Gary