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Data Storage IT

Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Storing Data To Survive a Fire (or Other Disaster) 446

First time accepted submitter aka_bigred writes Every year as I file my taxes, I replicate my most important financial data (a couple GB of data) to store an offline copy in my fire-rated home safe. This gets me thinking about what the most reliable data media would be to keep in my fire-rated home safe.

CDs/DVDs/tapes could easily melt or warp rendering them useless, so I'm very hesitant to use them. I've seen more exotic solutions that let you print your digital data to paper an optically re-import it later should you ever need it, but it seems overly cumbersome and error prone should it be damaged or fire scorched. That leaves my best options being either a classic magnetic platter drive, or some sort of solid state storage, like SD cards, USB flash drives, or a small SSD. The problem is, I can't decide which would survive better if ever exposed to extreme temperatures, or water damage should my house burn down.

Most people would just suggest to store it in "the cloud", but I'm naturally averse to doing so because that means someone else is responsible for my data and I could lose it to hackers, the entity going out of business, etc. Once it leaves my home, I no longer fully control it, which is unacceptable. My thought being "they can't hack/steal what they can't physically access." What medium do other Slashdot users use to store their most important data (under say 5GB worth) in an at-home safe to protect it from fire?
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Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Storing Data To Survive a Fire (or Other Disaster)

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  • Best medium (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:33PM (#49459685)
    Oral tradition. Seriously wtf
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:34PM (#49459689)

    There are fire rated NAS devices like the ioSafe 214 [theregister.co.uk] which has Synology guts.

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @09:29PM (#49460487) Homepage

      Or for something cheaper, M-Disc [wikipedia.org] in a bucket of water. Water shouldn't get significantly over boiling in a fire (as it loses its heat by boiling off), and M-Disc is rated to withstand boiling water and not degrade from long-term water immersion (they're burned not by modifying a photosensitive dye like in normal discs, but by literally etching a hard, inorganic layer)

      • by Ralph Siegler ( 3506871 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @11:08PM (#49460877)
        And that's folks is why extrapolating from a little book learning to try to engineer reality without experiment or experience leads to failure. A typical house fire burns at over a thousand degrees F for about half an hour. Not only will your water be gone, so will your plastic or steel aluminum bucket.
        • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @02:45AM (#49461389) Homepage

          And that's folks is why

          And that's folks is why being an arse when you disagree with someone is usually mutually exclusive with being able to write proper English.

          The flames in a house fire can of course be "over a thousand degrees F". Most air in a burning house is below the boiling point of water. But hey, let's just assume that your bucket is sitting right on top of the ignition source of your house and somehow remains directly in flames underneath it for half an hour. Gee, what sort of analogy could we have for a large metal pot-like thing sitting on some gas stove-like flames... oh yeah, how about a pot sitting on a gas stove (whose flames can also be "over a thousand degrees F")? Because anyone who's ever put a large pot full of water on the stove (for example for canning) can tell you that it will NOT boil off in half an hour.

          And seriously, a steel bucket will be "gone"? Methinks you need to look up the melting point of steel.

          • how about a pot sitting on a gas stove (whose flames can also be "over a thousand degrees F")?

            I'm not an engineer, but this does not appear to me to accurately model a house fire. I think that there is going to be a difference between being engulfed in 1000+ degree heat vs being over a 1000+ degree heat source.

            By way of example, let's say that you have a 22 quart canning pot filled with water and you were to suspend it over a Bunsen burner. That burner can reach a temperature of 2000+ degrees F at the tip of its inner cone, but how long do you think it will take that 2000+ degree burner to boil 10 q

            • Not to mention the mold that would grow in such a moist environment. The fire safe (as is typical for the class) should be rated for 1500 degrees for 30minutes while keeping the inside temperature below that necessary to char paper. The walls are heavily insulated and the seals on the door in extreme heat melt and seal the interior completely.

              That's the entire point of these safes, to store paper documents and firearms including ammunition the interior temperature can't exceed a threshold within the spec'd

    • Not in the fire (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @11:59PM (#49461025) Homepage

      The most effective way for your data to survive a fire (or flood, tornado, lava, etc) is for it to not be in the fire. If you don't want to automate off-site backups then periodically drop a hard disk into a convenient bank safety deposit box.

  • Offsite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:37PM (#49459703)

    is the only safe solution.

    • is the only safe solution.

      Fire and possibility of other disaster is exactly why offsite backup is so important.

      • Exactly. You can't defend against every threat. The best you can do is go with redundancy. The chances of one site being destroyed by fire, flood, tornado, or loss to burglary is slim. The chances of 2, 3, or 10 sites all simultaneously suffering the same fate is very very slim.

    • Offsite, or fireproof stuff. Your choice.

      • Re:Offsite (Score:5, Informative)

        by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:42PM (#49460309)

        "Offsite, or fireproof stuff. Your choice."

        No, fireproof is no substitute. If you really value your data, multiple copies, at least one of them off site is the only way to go.

        But, now we are talking about fireproof... that's not an absolute concept. The fireproof is rated for temperature outside, max temperature inside (or delta from outside) and time to stand it. First aka_bigred has to know is the rating of his vault: any support that can stand the internal temperature rate is valid; if the fire goes outside the rating, think of it as lost (you might be lucky though). I can attest recovering data from DAT tapes on vaults exposed around the limit of its rate.

        • Two copies, one safety deposit box as otherwise mentioned here, and the other with your lawyer. If you don't have one, with a trusted relative who ALSO has the 2K+ software and/or hashes needed to rejuvenate the data, intact.

          Only offsite works. I've been through floods and fires, and curious children and pets. Only offsite works. Forget the rest. You need to test it annually in the restoration phase, too. Keep copies of the keys.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by koinu ( 472851 )
        I favour off-planet. Who knows how big the fire could get.
    • Re:Offsite (Score:5, Insightful)

      by halltk1983 ( 855209 ) <halltk1983@yahoo.com> on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:08PM (#49460165) Homepage Journal
      This. A safety deposit box at your bank is your best and safest bet. Encrypt the drive if you're worried that someone cares enough to go Italian Job on you.
    • Re:Offsite (Score:5, Informative)

      by DanielRavenNest ( 107550 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:15PM (#49460197)

      That's what bank safety deposit boxes are for. Offsite, hard to break into, more or less fireproof through sheer mass, even if the building around it burns. Ask the bank about how thick the walls are, though. Class 3 is recommended (12 inches thick concrete), with additional outside fireproofing.

      • Re:Offsite (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:20PM (#49460217)

        Just make sure whatever you use is in a waterproof container. A friend had a fire at their bank and the safe deposit contents were soaked. Water apparently got through the small gaps in the front due to the high pressure.

        • Re:Offsite (Score:4, Informative)

          by BLKMGK ( 34057 ) <morejunk4me@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:32PM (#49460263) Homepage Journal

          Truecrypt volume on an external drive kept in a Tupperware container in a safety deposit box that's a duplicate of the one you keep at home in a safe. It's not an Italian Job I'd be worried about it would be someone in authority deciding they needed to have a peek. Chances of a fire at the bank AND at the home at the same time are pretty far fetched. Can sub friend's home for safety deposit box easily enough and maybe even do an exchange but use a locked box so said friend doesn't decide to use it to store his p0rn!

    • by hodet ( 620484 )

      Exactly. Buy yourself a couple of 2 or 3 TB usb's. Encrypt them with Truecrypt and backup all your data to both. Now store one offsite. Update your backups (rsync for Linux or robocopy for Windows). Now swap your offsite with the one you had onsite that you updated. Keep doing this.

      I am just not a cloud type of guy. I know some people prefer that but it makes no sense to me when it is so easy, cheap, fast and most importantly, secure.

      • by hodet ( 620484 )

        ....to do it yourself. I cut sentence short there. Slashdot should implement an edit button.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MisterSquid ( 231834 )

          ....to do it yourself. I cut sentence short there. Slashdot should implement an edit button.

          Most users don't know it, but Slashdot actually has had an edit button since 1997.*

          It appears after you click the "Preview" button and has the label "Continue Editing".

          (* It's actually an anchor, but you get my drift.)

    • The orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
  • Off Site (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:37PM (#49459711) Journal

    A couple of BD-Rs stored in a safe deep deposit box or over at a relative's house.

    • A couple of BD-Rs stored in a safe deep deposit box or over at a relative's house.

      My bank charges $60 a year for a box - that's less expensive than any of the online services for large quantities of data. The real costs are a function of how much data you want to backup and how much redundancy you want offsite. For instance, for the 6TB drives [amazon.com] I'm using, to have two onsite and two offsite costs twelve hundred bucks now, which compares favorably with tape solutions. I tend to upgrade backup drives every

  • by Meditato ( 1613545 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:39PM (#49459717)

    Drill a small hole into a fire-resistant safe where your power and SCSI/IDE/SATA/USB/ETH cables go, then put your drives in there. Won't be easily stolen and will likely survive a house fire. Googling the terms "fire-resistant safe" revealed dozens of good options.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sribe ( 304414 )

      Drill a small hole into a fire-resistant safe...

      That deserves a "+5 Funny"!

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Don't be an asshat, they just left out one thing http://solutions.3m.com.au/wps... [3m.com.au]. Believe it or not but, yes, you do routinely have to put holes in fire rated construction elements up to including 240/240/240 rated construction elements, each part related to a type of protection prevention of spread/insulation/structural soundness. So yes a four hour fire rated box in the roof space (if you think about it for a bit you will know why) with a hole for the cable, sealed with an intumescent sealant. You can

    • by melstav ( 174456 ) on Monday April 13, 2015 @07:54AM (#49462113)

      You (and other commenters) laugh at this idea,

      Admittedly, a DIY USB-connected solution will likely compromise the thermal insulation and waterproofing of the safe to some degree... But COTS USB-connected fire safes *DO* exist.

      For one example: http://www.sentrysafe.com/Prod... [sentrysafe.com]

  • by imccuaig ( 699632 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:39PM (#49459719)
    Seriously, why go for some kind of difficult or expensive solution when low tech is cheaper and safer. It doesn't have to be the cloud, it could be encrypted and stored in your desk at work.
  • The Cloud (Score:5, Funny)

    by kromozone ( 817261 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:39PM (#49459721)

    >Most people would just suggest to store it in "the cloud", but I'm naturally averse to doing so because that means someone else is responsible for my data and I could loose (sic) it to hackers, the entity going out of business, etc.

    Simply strongly encrypt your data before backing it up to the cloud, you will be at no risk of hackers or anyone else gaining access that way. If you can't find a cloud storage service that you trust/trust won't go out of business, you can make your own cloud using Amazon's AWS system. The levels of security at the facilities and redundancy mean your data will survive anything short of nuclear Armageddon. Personally I'd just go with the local encryption option.

    • by C3ntaur ( 642283 )

      you will be at no risk of hackers or anyone else gaining access that way

      I disagree. Encryption algorithms are constantly being tested and broken, and there is great incentive for that to continue. From the NSA and other governmental entities deliberately weakening the tools we use to encrypt, to as-yet undiscovered flaws, nobody can say with 100% certainty that current encryption technology will forever be secure.

      And that's the biggest problem with the cloud. Once a single copy has been posted, you no

      • >And that's the biggest problem with the cloud. Once a single copy has been posted, you no longer have a sure way to delete every copy in existence.

        So encrypt your important data before you sent it to the cloud. If iPhone level encryption is "evil" enough to piss off the NSA, it's probably good enough for your typical data.
      • you will be at no risk of hackers or anyone else gaining access that way

        I disagree. Encryption algorithms are constantly being tested and broken, and there is great incentive for that to continue. From the NSA and other governmental entities deliberately weakening the tools we use to encrypt, to as-yet undiscovered flaws, nobody can say with 100% certainty that current encryption technology will forever be secure.

        And that's the biggest problem with the cloud. Once a single copy has been posted, you no longer have a sure way to delete every copy in existence.

        Err. The government already has your tax details. Why would they need to crack AES to read your encrypted 1040?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:40PM (#49459723) Journal
    If you plan on having the medium survive your house burning down, it'll either have to be something really exotic(CNCed cuneiform tablets?) or something boring inside a sufficiently fireproof safe (which can get costly; but are a well recognized product category).

    If it gets to the point where the fire and/or water are in contact with your storage medium, luck might save you; but the odds are lousy enough that it doesn't really qualify as a plan.

    You really should consider off-site storage. This doesn't have to mean 'in the cloud', anything that gets updated very infrequently can be dumped to some backup medium and shoved in a safe deposit box.
    • Re:Offsite... (Score:5, Informative)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @07:45PM (#49460053) Journal

      If you plan on having the medium survive your house burning down, it'll either have to be something really exotic(CNCed cuneiform tablets?) or something boring inside a sufficiently fireproof safe (which can get costly; but are a well recognized product category).

      Fireproof safes (actually fire resistant) are not what you want to use for storing electronics or cd/dvd/bd media.

      You specifically want a fire resistant "media" or "data" safe.

      The difference is that "fireproof" safes are intended to prevent paper from charring/burning, so their design allows for internal temperatures that are high enough to cook your electronics. Media/data safes maintain a significantly lower interior temperature (and humidity), which safeguards your relatively fragile electronic hardware.

      And it's not just enough to avoid high temperatures, your safe needs to be sealed against gasses.
      In a home fire, you have all types of corrosive and unpleasant chemicals that are created from burning plastics, toilet cleaner, etc.
      Those chemicals will generally attack any metal and plastic that they come into contact with (YMMV).

      TLDR: You get what you pay for, so get the right thing.

      • Re:Offsite... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:42PM (#49460313)
        One thing of note, however. There's a huge difference between running temperature and temperature limits. A hard drive can sit in a very hot room and be fine, but it cannot be run in that hot room.

        If there wasn't a difference, soldering ovens wouldn't really be very useful.
    • My father lost his workshop to fire in 1999. I have in my hands a Western Digital "Caviar" 2540 IDE drive that still reeks of smoke 16 years later. The computer was wrecked, but I hooked that drive up to an IDE cable and copied all of his files from it.

      People think a fire turns everything to molton slag. There was much that survived even when the 2 cars in the garage were reduced to burnt hulks.

      Don't have any experience with such a thing with modern multi-100 Gig drives, but traditionally drives were

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And for the really paranoid, two banks, located in different parts of the country (or a different continent).

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      And for the really paranoid, two banks, located in different parts of the country (or a different continent).

      For the less paranoid.... Make sure the data is encrypted. get yourself a piece of sewer pipe.. stick the media in with some baggies of Silica gel.. cap off the ends of the tube with airtight/watertight seal, so nothing is getting in Use a post hole digger to create a hole in the backyard 3 to 4 feet deep, and bury the piece of tubing so the top is at least 36 inches down.

  • Fire Rated Safe (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Better check the documentation on your safe. Many are not designed to resist heat. They provide an oxygen sparse environment such that paper won't burn. Thats why you have to let them cool off afterwards, if you open them too soon the oxygen from outside hits very hot paper and it lights on fire. This is fine for paper but not so good for plastics and magnetics. Best suggestion is one or more off site storage locations, such as a bank security box or a professional storage facility. How many is determined b

    • Re:Fire Rated Safe (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:52PM (#49460351) Journal

      Better check the documentation on your safe. Many are not designed to resist heat. They provide an oxygen sparse environment such that paper won't burn. Thats why you have to let them cool off afterwards, if you open them too soon the oxygen from outside hits very hot paper and it lights on fire.

      No.

      Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) certifications for fire are based on not exceeding a specified internal temperature (or humidity level) for a specified period of time. UL Class 350 safes, for instance, will maintain an internal temperature below 350 F, and humidity below 85%. This is fine for paper, but not for digital media. For those, you're looking for a safe (or safe + internal container) rated for Class 150 or Class 125 (150 F or 125 F), depending on your specific application.

      An airtight safe that still got hot inside wouldn't protect paper. Pyrolysis still takes place in the absence of oxygen, carbonizing any organic matter--including paper. (Heating wood under oxygen-starved conditions is how charcoal is made.)

  • not what you asked (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DriveDog ( 822962 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:43PM (#49459749)
    I know this isn't what you asked, and I'm interested in hearing the answer to your question as well. But offsite is really the only safe alternative. Put copies on whatever media, then store them somewhere away from your house. If you have a place you feel is relatively secure at the office, put it there. Send it home with a trusted friend. Store it in your mom's basement (if you live elsewhere). Encrypt with a phrase you won't forget. Only a thermonuclear strike is likely to destroy all your copies, and if it does, I suspect you won't much care.
  • Offsite is the only real solution. Be it cloud, safe deposit box, or your mums house. It doesn't matter. Anything fire rated is rated for x temp for y hours, which are easy to exceed.

  • The summary states that it's only a few GB of data, so why not put it all on an SD card and keep it on your person? You shouldn't have to worry about temperature extremes that way, as even in the case of a home fire in the middle of the night, you'll want to take it along with you to call 911 as you rush you and your family out the door.

    Naturally, you'll still want to encrypt it in case your phone is lost/stolen, but it's probably by far the safest, easiest, and most secure solution.

    • I really like your idea. But if it's just a few GB, take it one step farther. Put a uSD card into a pendant. Bonus points if the pendant is both attractive, and a USB uSD reader

  • by penguinstorm ( 575341 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:49PM (#49459789) Homepage

    I've commissioned a stone mason to carve a backup of everything I have into solid blocks of granite. Since the type of information varies (text, photos, videos, etc) I've had the Mason translate everything to its raw binary state and carved in bit by bit (Ha! See what I did there!)

    These are stored in my living room, which is causing some difficulty in negotiating living space--but I feel that it's worth the sacrifice.

    Sure, he complains when I edit an existing document. He's hired an assistant just to keep my grocerylist.txt file up to date in the archive. I wanted to switch it to an XML structure, but I let him win that battle.

    As a recovery strategy in the even of a fire my plan is to outsource the data entry to an Indian firm and take advantage of global time zones and cheap labour. I expect to be back up and running within 7.2 years in the even of a catastrophic event, if my calculations are correct. The best thing is I've eliminated all risk of media becoming obsolete: my last archive was on a Syquest Ez 135--never let it be said that I haven't learned my lesson!

    • Wind and water will erode it, but that shouldn't be a problem in your living room. In the event of a fire, differential thermal expansion of individual mineral grains may cause the granite to crack - hopefully into large chuncks that can easily be restored to their original configuration without the loss of any bits. One also has to hope that any fire will not be hot enough to cause the chemical breakdown of any micas or amphiboles present in your granite. I would have recommended a more homogeneous and mor
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @06:49PM (#49459797)

    There are a line of fire proof safes out there that have ports that allow you to run cables into the back so you can store hard drives or SSDs or whatever in the safe... in the event of a fire, the insides of the safe should be fine.

    So... that is what I would do. I'd get some external drives, buy a data safe, and then put that next to the server where upon at given intervals the data is backed up to the externals in the fire proof data safe.

  • small chance all three will go out of business and be hacked to the point where all the data is wiped. if that is even possible to wipe all of their data

    if you are really paranoid burn a yearly DVD or some other media and pay for a box at a bank

  • Rule of three: Original copy, on site backup, off site backup. Otherwise you're not truly protected. I'd say SD cards, in a Pelican SD card case, in the safe for the local backup. Then look into an encrypted off site backup. The key is to make sure it is encrypted *before* it leaves your computer, and that the provider does not hold the key. Many providers offer this, even if it's not turned on by default.
  • If you're serious... use offsite storage. If you think your house might burn to the ground, and you think your fire safe won't protect optical media, then backup to an offsite location. If you think your house might catch fire and the fire department will come and put out the fire before reaching the limits guaranteed by your safe, then backup to an offsite location because the fire department is going to flood your home with water in the process. If you think your safe is waterproof; and, you live with

  • If your data is not backed up in 3 separate places, it's not backed up.

    So to answer your question, you should have it on your drive where you access it. Stored on an external HD (or CD/DVD/ETC) in a fire proof safe and in the cloud (preferrably in an encrypted container). So if your house burns up and your fireproof backup fails, you'll have the cloud. If the cloud provider goes bust, you'll have your backups that you can restore to a different cloud provider.

    If you don't want to store it "in the cloud" ha

  • This gets me thinking about what the most reliable data media would be to keep in my fire-rated home safe. CDs/DVDs/tapes could easily melt or warp rendering them useless

    Ordinary fireproof safes are designed to keep papers from bursting into flames. Data rated fireproof safes keep the interior temperature under 125F/50C, like say this one [amazon.com] so computer media survives just fine. In fact, this a "Why can't I be arsed to google this for five minutes?" question.

  • I'll put in a freedom of information act request to get a copy back.
  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @07:16PM (#49459899)

    There's quite a few companies who've built their business around safe records storage.

    Iron Mountain [ironmountain.com]
    Recall [recall.com]

    These guys will store almost anything you want to pay them to. Documents, Hard drives, Tapes, paintings.... etc They can send an armored vehicle/courier to your source location to pick up the content.

    Though if you have only a few HD, a safety deposit box at your local bank should suffice.

    Lastly, encrypt it and upload it to Amazon S3's Glacier service. Heck you could upload it to a bunch of different Regions in case all of East Coast region is nuked.

    • Btw, if you use the S3 calculator and look at the Glacier storage, it costs $0.01 per GB per month. Stick it in two regions and it rises to a whopping $0.02 per GB per month.

      A fireproof safe is up in the hundreds of dollars. Though you could buy a fireproof HD... [amazon.com] for a few hundred as well.

      I have a home NAS and back the NAS up to the cloud just in case there's a fire in my house. If I was really paranoid I'd back it up to 2 different cloud providers (Amzn, Google, Azure, Rackspace).

  • For the last 26 years or so, I've been making electronic copies of my records. The media changes, the location does not. My current scheme is to burn financial records onto CD-ROM on two pieces of archival media. One goes into my local at-home fireproof safe. One goes into my safe-deposit box at my neighborhood bank.

    Work backup is a little trickier. For a long time I was using tape backup, upgrading to larger capacity as the new drives came out. Then I started burning multiple DVD-ROM disk sets. I

  • Purchase an aircraft Black Box [wikipedia.org]

    they are typically specified to withstand an impact of 3400 g and temperatures of over 1,000 C (1,830 F)

  • by anchovy_chekov ( 1935296 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @07:24PM (#49459931)
    OK, this is not a serious solution, but the way a company I worked for years ago managed this was hilarious. One of the managers put a server in the boot of his car and had it connect wirelessly to the file servers when it was parked in the office car park.

    Because he had to reverse his car in to bring the wifi into range, the joke "I'm just backing up the data" got played every time he did it. Suffice it to say, the joke got old pretty quick.
  • That fireproof, waterproof ubersafe does not help when the hurricane or tornado throws it a few miles away, and it ends up at the bottom of the river.
  • Go off-site. Anything else is just on low amateur-level.

  • Ours cost about $80 a year and is open on Saturdays. We rotate our backup drives into it monthly. Yeah, weekly would be better...
  • If it's that important, rent a small safe-deposit box at the local bank. Copy as much as you like onto a portable hard drive, and put it in there.

  • buy a handful of hard drives, encrypt them, do rotating backups on them of everything irreplaceable (that includes photos and documents) at reasonable intervals (monthly or quarterly or whenever you do something momentous such as taxes, for individuals), and make sure at least one of those drives is never physically at your home - your parents', your job, your bank, your SO's, your gym...

    Backups are 1- offline, 2- offsite, 3- tested, 4- multiple. Miss just one of those 4, and you don't have a backup.

  • I know you said you didn't trust cloud solutions, but Backblaze is fantastic for online backups and they allow you to set your own private key that they don't have access to.

  • My thought being "they can't hack/steal what they can't physically access."

    Oblig xkcd reference [xkcd.com]

  • Stone tablets, translate your data to Aramaic, and carve it into them. Those things will last for thousands of years, and nobody understands Aramaic, so it's safe.

  • I bury a 2TB USB drive below the frost line. It's about 3 feet from the foundation. I use it as a Time Machine target. It's sealed in a tomato can with RTV. I used an existing through-hole (used for some ham radio gear) to connect by mac mini to the drive.
  • automatically encrypt your data locally and upload it to multiple locations. These locations can be public locations as only your private key can decrypt the incremental (or full) backups.

    Some backends:

    • azure backend (Azure Blob Storage Service) Microsoft Azure SDK for Python - https://github.com/Azure/azure... [github.com]
    • boto backend (S3 Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Storage) boto version 2.0+ - http://github.com/boto/boto [github.com]
    • cfpyrax backend (Rackspace Cloud) and hubic backend (hubic.com) Rackspace CloudFiles Pyrax
  • ...think about it, if there's a fire and I'm NOT home, I've got the car, and they're safe. If there's a fire and I AM at home, the first think I'll do is get the car out of the garage. My biggest risk is whether the fire is between me and the garage, and I've got several alternative routes to get there (including two that involve going outside).

    My main storage media are 1 Terabyte drives with 100% copies of each backup from every computer (4) in the house, every night. I change the drive about once a we
  • I find that an implant that allows me to securely store data too sensitive for regular computer networks is the way to go.

    https://allthetropes.orain.org... [orain.org]

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @08:11PM (#49460173)

    To back up a few GB, why are you making it complicated?

    First, if your home fire safe is not media rated, then don't count on any media surviving a fire, the firesafe may prevent paper from burning, but don't count on it keeping any electronic media from melting or degrading. And a fire safe is no guarantee, my sister lost her house and *everything* in it -- the only thing recognizable was part of a 100 year old cast iron stove, and the remains of the brick fireplace, everything else ended up in an unrecognizable pile of debris in what was left of the basement, there wasn't even enough left of their thousand dollar gun safe to be found in the debris.

    A few GB is *nothing* -- just encrypt it and email it to yourself, set up multiple accounts with different email providers if you don't trust that Google will be around for the long haul.

    If you had tens or hundreds of GB of data, then I'd say use a cloud provider and migrate your data to a new provider if that one goes out of business. I keep my data in Amazon Glacier -- for $10/month (it's mostly old family home videos converted to digital along with a lot of TIFF photos). If I needed to recover the data all at once, I could send them a hard drive (plus a fee) and they'd restore to that hard drive and mail it back to me.

  • Just create a web site lauding ISIS (or the little green men in Ukraine, or the North Koreans, etc. There's a long list.).

    You're guaranteed to have all your data backed up on the best quality archival storage the US government can find!

    Just don't get too over the top. Predator drones, you know. ;)

  • If it's encrypted properly it's basically impossible for anyone to break into it.
  • by stox ( 131684 )

    Redundant Array of Inexpensive Cloud Storage.

    Store redundant copies on as many providers as necessary to provide the integrity desired.

  • Instead of printing encrypted (and properly encoded) data on a sheet of paper, you could use a sheet of stainless steel and a laser cutter. Use a common scanner for reading.
  • You need a safe.

    To be more specific, you need a water-resistant fire safe rated for digital media. Check the certifications and endorsements.

    Talk to your local fire department. The temperature and duration ratings differ by safe, and you'll want to make sure that your house fire scenario matches the safe you are getting.

    Also pay attention to water. Your safe may end up in the basement, and the basement may be full of water. You may decide to place the safe in the basement now, so that it doesn't experie

  • Yeap, stick it under your skin. Five gigabytes isn't that much after all. It could easily fit on a uSD card, so you'll hardly even notice that it's there. If you happen to have an untimely demise in a house fire, it is no longer your concern. You can also be reasonably assured that the storage medium will melt when you combust, which further enhances the security.

    Seriously though, decide upon your priorities. Your data is too important to store offsite. Yet it is too important to store onsite too. Wh

  • by SirMasterboy ( 872152 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @11:18PM (#49460909) Homepage

    They make special NAS products that are designed to be fireproof and waterproof.

    https://iosafe.com/products-2b... [iosafe.com]

  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Sunday April 12, 2015 @11:24PM (#49460933)

    Just dig a hole in the back yard and place the USB key or whatever in a water tight container and fill it in. Encrypting it would be a good idea too, just in case the neighbors dog digs it up. For something simple, you could try an otterbox drybox. These are used for kayaking and diving and are waterproof. The only problem might be cracking during the winter. You might want to dig below the frost line or put insulation around it.

    Another option would be to get an external shed and store stuff in there in a fire safe.

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