How to Organize and Store Digital Files
Updated: Jun 4
Today we are going to be talking about backing up and organizing your digital files. Life in the digital world can be dangerous and messy, so we need to make sure we have everything saved and easily accessible. Not to mention it is time-consuming and frustrating to not be able to find what you are looking for.
Where to Store Digital Files
First, let's discuss the 3 ways to store digital files, and the pros and cons of each.
1. Local: These are files saved directly to your device. They can take up valuable space and can be lost if anything happens to your device. These are usually the most easily accessible, however. You do not need to connect to the internet or any other device.
2. Cloud: Any online photo storage system would be considered "cloud storage." Cloud storage is great because if you damage your device, you still have all your files saved somewhere. You will need to be connected to the internet in order to access them. Some examples of cloud storage are Google Drive, Amazon Photos, OneDrive, iCloud, and Dropbox.
3. External Hard Drive: An external hard drive is a device that you can connect to your device like an SD card or USB drive, and it's only purpose is storage. These can go for pretty cheap, and if you are looking for one, I highly recommend this one. It is very affordable and comes in storage sizes from 1T to 5T. These require to be hooked up to your device, but you will still have them if you damage your device or are not connected to the internet. It is very important that you keep these safe, they can last a long time if treated well.
Note: SD and Micro SD Cards are another great storage space for you to free up space on your device, but because these are usually kept inside your device, they can become damaged if your device does.
Now that you have a good idea of the different places you CAN store your files, let's go over where you SHOULD store your files.
3, 2, 1! Let's go!
A good rule of thumb to follow when working to make sure all your files are protected is the "3, 2, 1" rule. Although this rule is not guaranteed, it is the bare minimum to have reasonably protected files. So what does the "3, 2, 1" rule require?
3 - Files are backed up in 3 different places, a combination of cloud and external devices.
2 - Files are backed up in 2 different storage types.
1 - Files are backed up to at least 1 offline/offsite device.
While there are many different versions of this rule, the main idea to take away is to have your files backed up on different types of media. Personally, I choose 1 hard drive and 2 cloud services. I use iCloud, Google Drive, and my 1T WD Hard Drive. You can use whatever feels right to you. Keep in mind how much time you can set aside to back up new files, and create a timeline for your backups. For example, I back up my new files every week, but you can choose however often works for you. The reason I do it every week is that I manually go through and transfer my files to my hard drive and cloud services, so I can keep everything organized.
Organizing your files
Speaking of keeping everything organized, let's talk about how to get your files organized in a way that works for you. There are many ways to organize your files, and I highly recommend the use of folders and subfolders. This visual guide will give you a couple of ideas, but if you find something else that works for you, go for it! Remember to use folders to keep everything organized and matching elements together!
Well, that's it for organizing and storing your digital files! If you have any tips or questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!