Precious memories left on a hard drive are not always safe. Stories of hard drives crashing are every where. What can you do to ensure the longevity of your digital files? Back up. Most people back up to CDs or DVDs.

But how long will these be viable, and will your computer still read the files the way they were burned? External drives are a good idea but are also prone to crash, and you can’t just fill an external drive and box it up, you have to run it periodically to keep the components functioning.

A good back up plan is online storage. Online storage has been around for years, but lately the market has really taken off. Storing images online with a reputable company should guarantee your images will be safe somewhere other than your hard drive or CDs . Storing your images online also protects them from break-ins and fires.

Here are a few names to look into:

Photoshelter has been around for a few years and stores files on multiple data centers around the country for extra security.
• Kodak offers their online Gallery,
• Tribeca Labs has Swiss Picture Bank.

(All of these online services have monthly fees. Do your research and go with a reliable service that has a good track record.)

For more information on storage devices, check out our High 5 of Storage Devices in the September issue. And let us know your experiences with online storage, is it as good of an idea as it seems to be?
—Melissa Macatee
Contributing Blogger