Do you maintain personal secure storage?

Do you maintain personal secure storage?

  • Yes

    Votes: 10 100.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    10

ddrueding

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Do you have a folder or drive where you keep stuff you don't want to lose? Do you take precautions (multiple copies, redundancy, multiple locations, etc)?
 

ddrueding

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This poll was inspired by snowhiker asking about the cold-storage / shelf-life of data on SSDs. I'm of the impression that any kind of cold-storage is too much of a risk for data you care about.

There are many levels of redundancy that can be taken, but I'd imagine most here at least have a folder structure that they keep backups of.
 

jtr1962

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Anything I care about I keep in multiple places on whatever storage media is in common use at the time. Right now I have redundant copies of my important stuff on several USB flash drives, two SSDs, and a 2 TB HDD. If holographic memory cubes became common, I would put a copy of all my data on one. I feel the best way to keep from losing stuff is to keep recopying on new types of storage as that storage becomes available. The copies on older types of storage are still viable for as long as that type of storage is in common use. I still have copies of some of my data on CD-RWs but I've long ago stopped keeping those current. A trend I've noticed is by the time it becomes cumbersome to keep your data current on older media, newer media is in common use and the older media can be phased out. That's the case with CD-RWs versus USB drives. And CD-RWs phased out using 3.5" floppies for backup. Obviously using floppies wouldn't even be remotely viable now.

In my opinion, it's not the life of the media which is important, but rather how long machines which can read that media will be around. You can hardly find machines which can read 3.5" floppies these days and that media is not much over 30 years old. Putting data on "archival" CDs which supposedly last a century is moot if no machines which can read those CDs exist in a century. One of the most promising things for long-term archival storage is this. Make microscopic human-readable copies of whatever is important on a media which can last millennia. So long as we have the power to magnify, the data will be safe.
 

LunarMist

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Do you have a folder or drive where you keep stuff you don't want to lose? Do you take precautions (multiple copies, redundancy, multiple locations, etc)?
Data is data. There isn't any I can accept losing.
I have over 250TB of hard drives and 10TB of SSDs but far less data. There should be at least 4 copies and more of some data. More than half is cold storage and I like that mix.
 

LunarMist

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In my opinion, it's not the life of the media which is important, but rather how long machines which can read that media will be around. You can hardly find machines which can read 3.5" floppies these days and that media is not much over 30 years old. Putting data on "archival" CDs which supposedly last a century is moot if no machines which can read those CDs exist in a century. One of the most promising things for long-term archival storage is this. Make microscopic human-readable copies of whatever is important on a media which can last millennia. So long as we have the power to magnify, the data will be safe.
I make full backups every 2+ years and replace media every five years. Obviously that doesn't work for the archival industry, but I expect all my works to go with me since the PW is personal.


The micro metal fiche thing is interesting, but has far too low data density, especially for high-res video.
 

snowhiker

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I have 2 external USB 3.0 HDDs and 2 internal HDDs. Four copies of important data. I'll admit it's disorganized and I need to prune and organize a bit.

Like jtr I have moved from floppies to CD-Rs to DVD+R to external HDDs. You have to keep moving your data onto the newer/current data storage technologies before the machine to read/view your data becomes obsolete. This would also apply to information stored in a particular application. If that app goes away you need to be able to access the raw data.
 

Handruin

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I'm not sure how to vote in the poll. I don't maintain any cold data storage and I'm not entirely sure what you define as secure storage.

I tend to think of it as a higher-level summary:

Single source copy
Two or more copies - local
Two or more copies - local + offsite remote

My personal setup is source copy + local backup + remote backup, each having 30 day incremental change history.
 

LunarMist

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I have 2 external USB 3.0 HDDs and 2 internal HDDs. Four copies of important data. I'll admit it's disorganized and I need to prune and organize a bit.

Like jtr I have moved from floppies to CD-Rs to DVD+R to external HDDs. You have to keep moving your data onto the newer/current data storage technologies before the machine to read/view your data becomes obsolete. This would also apply to information stored in a particular application. If that app goes away you need to be able to access the raw data.
I moved from DVDs to external FireWire HDDs around 2003 when drives fell to $0.50/GB. In the SATA II era I generally used eSATA or the internal hot-swat equivalent. Eventually I moved to external USB 3.0 while retaining some internal, power controlled SATA/SAS backups. SATA has been around quote a while and will not suddenly disappear. There will be bridges for some years after that. They are still available for PATA if that's any indication.
 
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mubs

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My important data is my financial info, legal records, kid's academic records, correspondence, etc.

It lives on internal HDD-1 in a Truecrypt partition that is mounted only when necessary and mostly stays unmounted (like right now, when I'm on SF). My local backup is to another Truecrypt partition on internal HDD-2 whenever there is a significant change to the data on HDD-1. I use Syncback to make the local backup identical to the live data. So the process takes only a couple of minutes. The backup target Truecrypt partition is mounted only when Syncback is run.

This data is further backed up using Syncback to two external Truecrypted USB3 HDDs, that live in separate rooms, one inside a locked drawer inside a locked cupboard, and the other inside a locked locker portion of a steel storage cupboard from the 1950s (my dad's that I inherited) that seems to be made of 4 gauge steel. If a missile or plane hits my apartment, the HDD inside the double steel storage *may* survive even a fire or serious damage because the steel is so thick. Nothing is stored offsite, which is a calculated risk I'm taking.

An HDD get replaced at the first sign of trouble, which is every 3-4 years. Since the replacement is happening at regular intervals, the switch to newer tech is happening simultaneously, like from IDE to SATA drives, USB2 to USB3 externals, etc.

I've followed this strategy for 10+ years.

The rest of my stuff also follows a similar strategy, except there's no encryption since there's nothing confidential about them.

My biggest worry lately is ransomware, for which my encrypted partitions may not be of any protection - if the ransomware attacks the partition table, then my encrypted partition may not be accessible. So am now more diligent with the external backups.
 

jtr1962

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Just my opinion but I've long felt that using only HDDs are a really bad way to store anything you care about, particularly if they're external HDDs which are handled constantly. One slip and the drive could be toast. My own preference is to use solid state (SSD or USB flash drives) and perhaps DVD-R or DVD-RW for unchanging data like pictures. HDDs are fine for backup also if they're either in my machine or another machine. I just don't want to trust my data to a portable device which is notoriously sensitive to shocks.

An HDD get replaced at the first sign of trouble, which is every 3-4 years. Since the replacement is happening at regular intervals, the switch to newer tech is happening simultaneously, like from IDE to SATA drives, USB2 to USB3 externals, etc.

I'm not sure that's really a good thing any more. Just based on a combination of real world and anecdotal data, it seems HDD reliability took a major hit once drives started getting into the TB territory. I frankly wouldn't trust any drive with more than two platters and more than maybe 500GB with anything I cared about, even short term. 7200 RPM instead of 5400 RPM or lower makes it even worse. At some point the magnetic bits are just too small for long term reliability. You could probably make a similar analogy with flash drives or SSD, except those are trending towards using more layers instead of smaller cells to increase capacity.
 

sedrosken

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I have all of my important data backed up to the 1TB HDD of my desktop. Clunky, unrefined, guaranteed to fail? Yes. But it's what I have at the moment, so it'll have to do until I can get ahold of more.
 

LunarMist

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Just my opinion but I've long felt that using only HDDs are a really bad way to store anything you care about, particularly if they're external HDDs which are handled constantly. One slip and the drive could be toast. My own preference is to use solid state (SSD or USB flash drives) and perhaps DVD-R or DVD-RW for unchanging data like pictures. HDDs are fine for backup also if they're either in my machine or another machine. I just don't want to trust my data to a portable device which is notoriously sensitive to shocks.


I'm not sure that's really a good thing any more. Just based on a combination of real world and anecdotal data, it seems HDD reliability took a major hit once drives started getting into the TB territory. I frankly wouldn't trust any drive with more than two platters and more than maybe 500GB with anything I cared about, even short term. 7200 RPM instead of 5400 RPM or lower makes it even worse. At some point the magnetic bits are just too small for long term reliability. You could probably make a similar analogy with flash drives or SSD, except those are trending towards using more layers instead of smaller cells to increase capacity.
Drives can fail, but that is the point of redundancy and backups. The 7-platter Hitachi and Seagate enterprise helium drives are designed for 24x7 use for five years. The helium allows lower power and cool-running drives even at 7200 RPM. Get a couple of He8 drives and run them in RAID 1 if you are paranoid. Before long all drives will use helium.
 

jtr1962

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Drives can fail, but that is the point of redundancy and backups. The 7-platter Hitachi and Seagate enterprise helium drives are designed for 24x7 use for five years. The helium allows lower power and cool-running drives even at 7200 RPM. Get a couple of He8 drives and run them in RAID 1 if you are paranoid. Before long all drives will use helium.
The thing is the average person isn't going to use or need enterprise-level drives for backup. They'll probably buy the cheapest external HDD they can find, and then handle it roughly. If it's not their sole means of backing up then that's not an issue but sadly for many people it is. SSDs are getting inexpensive enough for an average person to afford at least a 256GB external drive. For quite a few people, that's enough for their important stuff. You can also use USB flash drives, although I personally have reservations about their long-term reliability (which is why I keep copies on multiple USB drives).
 

LunarMist

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The thing is the average person isn't going to use or need enterprise-level drives for backup. They'll probably buy the cheapest external HDD they can find, and then handle it roughly. If it's not their sole means of backing up then that's not an issue but sadly for many people it is. SSDs are getting inexpensive enough for an average person to afford at least a 256GB external drive. For quite a few people, that's enough for their important stuff. You can also use USB flash drives, although I personally have reservations about their long-term reliability (which is why I keep copies on multiple USB drives).
Most average people are clueless and if they don't have proper IT support, eventually have data loss. I try to help a few people, but complexity and cost turn them off. I have set up backups for family members, but they listen to me. :)

I know one person that has critical, old-time software on a huge laptop and backs it up on a cheesy thumb drive every day. She won't use an external drive. It's just crazy.
 

jtr1962

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I know one person that has critical, old-time software on a huge laptop and backs it up on a cheesy thumb drive every day. She won't use an external drive. It's just crazy.
That's playing with fire. Sure, I back up on USB drives too, but I also have copies of my data on two SSDs and one HDD. I should probably also put non-changing stuff on DVD-RWs or DVD-Rs. Nobody should trust their data solely to a thumb drive. I've heard of those things just failing without warning.
 

LunarMist

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A lot of people in that age group are not savvy with computers and can barely do anything but use the programs. It's especially the case with artistic, rather than technical people.
 

ddrueding

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The poll wasn't for cold storage, it was for any storage. Folders with files that you don't want to lose. How do you store them, how do you maintain backups, what level of redundancy satisfies your paranoia, etc.

IMO, cold storage is not reliable enough to be counted in most redundancy calculations because it can't notify you when it fails. I actually have some Synology NAS units that are powered up but not connected to any LAN at all most of the time (ransom-ware defense). Having the status lights across the top to notify of a failed drive means you know whether that copy of the data is good.
 

LunarMist

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IMO, cold storage is not reliable enough to be counted in most redundancy calculations because it can't notify you when it fails. I actually have some Synology NAS units that are powered up but not connected to any LAN at all most of the time (ransom-ware defense). Having the status lights across the top to notify of a failed drive means you know whether that copy of the data is good.
Sure, but most people don't have second homes or want to pay for the powered storage facility. For the cost of the powered storage, I can have several sets of offline data. A couple of drives in a safe deposit box is an option for one set. In any case the hardware has a limited life.

I have connected the NAS directly to the PCs. It keeps sending an error message that the network cannot be "resolved" and that the time server cannot be set. I like that it is not connected as you also prefer. :)
 

Mercutio

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I have tapes, at least until the drive dies. I shuffle a box with a relatively complete archive back and forth between my place and my parents'. Important stuff is replicated in several places. The most important data to me is my email, which is thankfully also one of the easiest things to manage.
 

mubs

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Just my opinion but I've long felt that using only HDDs are a really bad way to store anything you care about, particularly if they're external HDDs which are handled constantly. One slip and the drive could be toast. HDDs are fine for backup also if they're either in my machine or another machine. I just don't want to trust my data to a portable device which is notoriously sensitive to shocks.

I'm not sure that's really a good thing any more. Just based on a combination of real world and anecdotal data, it seems HDD reliability took a major hit once drives started getting into the TB territory. I frankly wouldn't trust any drive with more than two platters and more than maybe 500GB with anything I cared about, even short term. 7200 RPM instead of 5400 RPM or lower makes it even worse. At some point the magnetic bits are just too small for long term reliability.
I've got 4 copies of everything, all on spinning disks, two fixed in the PC, two external. I think that's enough. My externals are stored in padded pouches, and if I were to drop the pouch, nothing would happen to the drive. My externals move solely between the cupboard and my PC for backup, and in that process, are handled very carefully. I think we in SF are not novices when it comes to these things! Regardless of cost, I buy the most reliable brands / models available to me.


My own preference is to use solid state (SSD or USB flash drives) and perhaps DVD-R or DVD-RW for unchanging data like pictures.

You could probably make a similar analogy with flash drives or SSD, except those are trending towards using more layers instead of smaller cells to increase capacity.
Unlike HDDs, in my experience it's USB flash drives that fail. They're cheaply made, sell for next to nothing, and I don't think any mfr cares about their quality. I use USB flash drives solely for transferring small files. I don't trust DVD-Rs and DVD-RWs either.

In my neck of the woods, SSD drives are way too expensive, and offer too little capacity. I'll stick with spinning magnetic HDDs for now.

The thing is the average person isn't going to use or need enterprise-level drives for backup. They'll probably buy the cheapest external HDD they can find, and then handle it roughly. If it's not their sole means of backing up then that's not an issue but sadly for many people it is. SSDs are getting inexpensive enough for an average person to afford at least a 256GB external drive. For quite a few people, that's enough for their important stuff. You can also use USB flash drives, although I personally have reservations about their long-term reliability (which is why I keep copies on multiple USB drives).
See above.
 
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