The simple answer
is: Back-up, Back-up, Back-up.........................
One needs to be secure.
In the days of film we were content to have the negative or transparency
stored somewhere safe and if it was really important, a copy negative
/ transparency stored somewhere too - and we took the risk.
Digital files can
be deleted, corrupted, renamed, lost or stolen.
Drives Do Fail
Do remember it's not a case of 'if' a drive fails, it's 'when'
a drive fails. Drives are electro-mechanical devices and be certain,
they will fail.
My procedure is:
First: As soon as possible after using my camera, I copy the memory
card and I verify the data before I re-format the card.
the data to a DVD
up to a secondary, external drive. The external drive can be stored away
from the main computer system in case of theft, damage or fire.
to back-up, including copying to DVD as work progresses and needless to
say, back-up all completed work.
If you can't always remember to back-up to the external drive as regularly
as you should, then invest in a 'mirror-drive' system. The system comprises
two identical drives linked together with one drive copying to the other
in a constant stream. If you make one half of the 'mirror-drive' an external
drive then you have the advantage of being able to store the files off-site
for increased security.
This is a more advanced option to the 'mirror drive' as a 'ghost drive'
will copy / back-up everything on the system including all programs and
associated data. More elaborate, yes, but it all depends upon the level
of security and feeling of safety you require.
One other option is to back-up using an on-line storage and retrieval
system such as 'Carbonite'.