I just thought I would post some thoughts on things I’ve learned over the past couple of years about backup strategies. This is what seems to work very well for me.
When I first heard the saying, “A file doesn’t exist unless it is in 3 places” I thought that was overkill. But that is really something to live by, because you never know what will happen due to hardware failure or just user stupidity.
First of all I import all my original files onto an internal hard disk. As soon as they are imported Carbonite begins doing an online backup of the images so I have a secure offsite backup. Also every night any new pictures imported are automatically backed up to my Data Robotics Drobo which is similar to two backups in itself because of it’s data redundancy, see http://www.drobo.com for more information. I don’t delete the original files off the memory cards immediately but wait until the following day when I know everything is backed up securely and I’ve looked at the images to make sure everything is good. If you are really fanatical Lightroom also gives the option to copy the images to two locations on import, but with the system I have I don’t really do that anymore. So at all times I have the working copies on my internal drive, the Drobo copy that is a double backup in itself, and the offsite Carbonite backup.
Another very important thing is to back up the Lightroom catalog. Remember you don’t have to backup all the Lightroom cache files, but just the actual small catalog file itself. Lightroom backs this up once a week, but I can make hundreds of changes and adjustments to images that are only stored in the catalog in that time. So I have my Acronis backup software make an automatic backup of the catalog every hour. That way in a worse case I only lose an hour of work at the most.
This is what I do that seems to work pretty well. Carbonite is slow, but it can also be a lifesaver in a worse case scenario. Once because of importing some pictures to the wrong location and not realizing I didn’t have a backup, I would have lost them completely if Carbonite hadn’t automatically seen the files and made a backup. You hope it never gets to that point, but you never know what is going to happen and an offsite backup is always a good idea. Hope this helps.