If you value your data/photos it’s best to work on the principle that one day your Hard Disk Drive (HDD) will fail. It’s just a question of when.
Online ‘cloud’ storage or photo websites may be useful for some but if like me you have 1.7 TB (mainly RAW files) and can shoot up to 10GB per day, that’s going to take a lot of time to upload on a poor broadband connection (mine is <0.5Mbs upload). Not sure what my ISP would say either. I suspect they may start ‘defining’ their concept of ‘unlimited’.
I used to have an external HDD to back up my photos periodically. But after too many internal & external HDD failures over the years, I don’t trust them any more. Actually some of the external drives failed while the synchronisation was in progress which was scary as it left me with only the working drive. I soon realised one backup wasn’t enough.
Burning DVDs is too slow, inflexible and doesn’t have enough capacity. They risk corruption too, whether used or not. With one scratch or other defect, you could lose everything on it or they can simply deteriorate over a period of time for various reasons.
So in addition to my primary working photo database on my PC, I now have a Western Digital WD EX2 with 2×2 TB drives in it, where one mirrors (is a copy of) the other. It’s a Network Attached Storage (NAS) system so I could access/share to different devices over my home network or the even the internet, although it isn’t connected to that all the time.
I also have a portable Seagate 2 TB that is small and light enough to carry in my camera bag. It’s lighter than my phone and despite all the mistreatment my camera bag gets, it is still working. So I have 4 copies of my photos that I synchronise regularly. Let’s hope I’m not copying corrupted data anywhere along the way.
Of course that only protects against failure or corruption. What if someone breaks in and steals your stuff or there is a fire or other unforeseen disaster? It’s best to have a remote storage option in the mix too. For me that’s not ‘in the cloud’ yet. The price is too high and practicalities are too complex.
Good photo ‘house keeping’ is always a good idea to save time and space. Delete any old rubbishy or mediocre shots and only keep what is good enough or any that have value to you. That’s my next plan or else my 2 TB HDDs and backup regime is going to be full fairly soon. It’s a project for LightRoom and some long dark wintry evenings.