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Protecting data long-term

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (Not Computer-Related)' started by crcook84, Nov 14, 2018.

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  1. crcook84

    crcook84 Thread Starter

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    I’m working on a way to protect our digitized family memories long-term. Right now, I have them on a flash drive. The main concern with that is the shelf-life of the EEPROM. They’re in a fireproof case along with other important documents. I was thinking of putting them inside a ziplock bag to protect against flood damage (although, flooding isn’t a concern where we live). Then, I started thinking about an airtight container. That would be easier to protect against some of the more severe weather events. Then, I started thinking, “If some of these containers are aluminum, how well could they protect against an EMP blast?” I’m not just thinking about an attack from an outside force. I’m thinking solar storms and such.
     
  2. lunarlander

    lunarlander

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    I think DVD's last longer that flash drives. Depending if you how much you use the flash drive.
     
  3. petef56

    petef56

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    Flash drives are not that reliable, but good for a secondary backup. Multiple DVD's are a good option if you only have 10gb or less data. In general, an external hard drive is best.

    So you should keep that flash drive but also copy it to an external hard drive of the spinning/mechanical type.

    After that, get yourself an all steel safe that will act to protect against EMP. Put your hard drive & flash drive into a ziplock bag with one of those disiccent bags that absorbs moisture. Then for extra measure place that bag into another ziplock bag, preferably, an antistatic bag. Place bag into the safe.

    Other options are to get an all steel safe that gets installed into the ground, which should also protect against fire.

    A fire safe is another option, but it might not be a full steel enclosure required for EMP protection.

    But most of all, NEVER rely upon just one backup! If your data is that important to you, have at least 3 backups on various kinds of media; Hard Drive, DVDs, Flash drive.

    It all depends how important your data is to what extremes you will go to in order to safeguard it from Fire, Theft, Flood, Earthquake, EMP attack, or even a nuclear bomb.

    --pete--
     
  4. lunarlander

    lunarlander

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    Oh. Forgot something. Off site storage. Like a bank safety deposit box, or relative's home.
     
    petef56 likes this.
  5. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Recordable optical media has a shelf life too. For flash memory, part of the key in preserving the data on it is periodically plugging in the flash memory to electrically refresh the electrons which are trapped in the individual cells that make up the flash memory. And I agree, flash memory is not reliable.

    What institutes such as museums and archival agencies do is have a plan of media rotation. Every few years, the must save data gets copied off onto a new backup medium.

    There's also cloud based backup services. Any upgrades and migrations are done by them and you won't have to worry about it. But then it falls to someone else having physical possession of your data.
     
  6. petef56

    petef56

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    I did not know about refreshing flash drives. Thank you!

    Another good point you bring up and I had assumed, is that people are backing up & storing their data long term on a regular basis, of at least every 6 months, hopefully more often.

    One other point about using hard drives to backup data is that the standard seems to be the most consistent over past decades and is more likely to be supported decades into the future. On the other hand, DVDs are already becoming obsolete and who knows what new standard might come along to replace USB flash drives.

    Again, the practice of regular or annual backups to multiple types of media will ensure compatibility into the future.

    --pete--
     
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