You probably already know how important it is to back up your photos regularly. The question does remain, however, of where the best place is to store this photo backup - on a hard drive, an external storage device, or in cloud storage? We’ll summarize what options are available to you and explain in which case a cloud solution is the best choice.

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Why is backing up photos important?

Precious holiday memories are one thing to lose, but for professional photographers the loss of photos is the worst-case scenario. Whether due to a technical defect, carelessness, or theft: if the stored images are gone forever, this also includes the loss of many beautiful memories and snapshots – or indeed income for professional photographers. Therefore, regular backups are something that should be routine.

According to the 3-2-1 backup rule, the ideal way to keep the images is on at least two other separate storage media, and they should be different media types. Security increases if one of these drives is kept in a different location, for example in the cloud (i.e. in a secured data center). This way, you are on the safe side in case of theft, mechanical or electronic damage, or even fire.


Need to store your photos and other data as securely as possible? With IONOS MyDefender you have a smart cloud solution for automatic backups, combined with fast data storage, easy recovery as well as comprehensive protection for all data and devices.

To learn more about the best strategies and privacy-compliant backups for photos and other data formats, you can also read our guide on backing up data.

What are the usual ways of storing photos?

Backing up data has changed fundamentally as storage media has changed – and this goes for photos, too. This is also due to the fact that the file sizes of digital photos have grown constantly. For example, 20 years ago, each JPG image was about 1 megabyte at 2,160 × 1,440 pixels, whereas today’s photos are around 10 megabytes at 5,568 × 3,712 pixels. That means more storage is needed even for normal photos.

Professional photography usually works with uncompressed raw data, raw format and in full format. This corresponds to the former negative format of 36 × 24 mm and produces digital images with up to 8,256 × 5,504 pixels, which easily exceed 30 megabytes per image (depending on the color depth). If these kinds of images were saved on a conventional CD, the limit would be 20 stored photos – which as we know is barely anything when it comes to photos!

The following storage media are used to back up pictures:

  • Cloud storage
  • External hard disk (HDD or SSD)
  • Internal hard drive of PC or laptop
  • USB flash drive
  • Memory card (e.g. SD card)
  • DVD, Blu-ray Disc

The transfer speeds are also a factor that should not be neglected. USB 2.0 works with 480 megabits per second. In contrast, the current USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 standard offers up to 20 gigabits per second.


When saving photos, you can keep track of them if you name the folders with this handy system: “year-month-day-location-event-keyword”, e.g. “2021-08-13_town _birthday-aunt”. This usually also saves renaming the image files stored in it.

There are many cloud providers on the market, also specifically for storing photos. These provide a certain amount of storage space free of charge. If this is exceeded, additional gigabytes must be bought as extra - for example with Dropbox or iCloud. Google Drive currently offers 15 GB free of charge for a user account.

What are the pros and cons of each storage method for photo backups?

Anyone who travels a lot has to consider the weight and space requirements of their luggage, and it’s a similar story here. Which storage medium is best suited to you depends on your own requirements for storing images. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the individual storage media at a glance:

Storage Advantages Disadvantages
Cloud storage Large storage, always available, server maintenance through secure data centers, automated backups, access from various media. Often has to be paid-for (when free capacity is used up), Internet connection required
Hard disk (SSD) / USB stick High storage capacities, light and compact Lifetime only up to 10 years, professional panels sometimes more
Hard disk drive (HDD) Very good price-performance ratio, relatively high storage capacities Mechanically sensitive, heavy, heat generation, lifetime use 5 to 10 years
Memory cards (CF, SD, etc.) Small and lightweight Lifetime only approx. 5 years
Optical storage media such as DVD, Blu-ray Disc Require relatively little physical space; lifespan up to 30, Blu-ray up to 50 years Low storage capacities, often no drives left in computers
Notebook, PC Internal hard disk usually included No real backup if the device breaks

Who should use a Cloud to back up pictures?

Whether vacation photos, family celebrations, pictures for blogs or social media accounts, or photos in a professional context, a photo backup is indispensable to store photos.

For private purposes, external hard drives are fine, but an additional cloud storage is more secure. For professionals, the question of photo backups is probably a topic well covered. It’s hard to avoid backing up digital images to the cloud, and not just because of the amount of data involved.

The cost of cloud storage is similar everywhere, but the service offered varies. The average price for 1 terabyte cloud storage without additional service is around $5 per month for most providers. For this, you are usually very well positioned in terms of data security.

IONOS MyDefender has many advantages. For a slightly higher price, it offers device-specific automation tools, various security checks, as well as the ability to back up entire workstations.

Backing up photos securely – an example with MyDefender

Backing up photos to the cloud is a practical and forward-thinking approach. But not all clouds are created equal. And this is where IONOS scores points with its MyDefender product. It’s not just about storage space, but combines automatic backups from various storage locations with scheduling and different security features.

Pros of storing photos with IONOS MyDefender

Among the many providers, MyDefender from IONOS is a storage solution from a top provider. All data, including your photos, are stored in secure data centers, so that there are no data protection concerns. In addition, these data centers are ISO-certified - proof that this form of data backup meets defined security requirements.

MyDefender has taken data backup to a smarter level. This product can be used for more than 20 platforms, providing protection against malware, detecting ransomware and cryptomining.

The requirement to get MyDefender is to have an IONOS account. If you host your website with IONOS or have an email address with us, you are already a customer and can add MyDefender to your plan. Otherwise, simply create an IONOS customer account and select the appropriate plan.

Mydefender – Backup photos easily

After logging into your account, select “Server & Cloud” from the menu - the booked backup package will appear.

By opening the backup console, you start the actual backup process. Clicking on “Add” displays a selection of devices and operating systems. Each icon represents a download link for the Cyber Protection Agent. This is installed on the device from which data is to be backed up. For computers, complete workstations, individual drives, and directories can be selected for backup.

For mobile devices, the app store site will open. The app must be installed on the mobile device from the store. This Cyber Protection Agent is connected to the backup server by entering the user and (initial) password from the cloud panel of the backup package. From then on, this cloud solution can directly access the data of the connected device. For the backup, the possible content is offered for selection.

MyDefender is available for the following operating systems:

  • Windows from version 7 upwards
  • macOS from OS X El Capitan 10.11 upwards
  • iOS 10.3 and higher
  • Android 5.0 and higher
  • Different virtualization hosts
  • 10 different file systems like NTFS, FAT32 and others

As soon as the corresponding device appears in the panel, it can be selected by clicking the checkbox. In the incoming “Actions” menu, a protection plan is then created with “Protect”. At this point, another advantage of this IONOS solution becomes apparent. For each individual protection plan, the backup sources, elements, times, repetition frequencies and the retention period can be defined. From existing backups, “Recovery” is used to restore a backup to the previously selected data carrier.

Once a backup has started, the console displays the percentage that has already been backed up. The speed depends on the upload speed of the Internet connection.

For mobile devices, the use of MyDefender is tied to the Acronis Cyber Protect app. This backs up images and other selectable data from mobile devices with an intuitive interface.

Another plus is the “#CyberFit score” in the console. This tool checks important security parameters of the devices registered in the console and also makes suggestions for improvement.


In addition to regularly backing up your digital pictures, remember to sort out (i.e. delete) less unwanted photos from time to time and print out the most beautiful memories in the old-fashioned way to enjoy them for a little longer and in a completely “analog” way.

HiDrive Cloud Storage with IONOS!

Based in Europe, HiDrive secures your data in the cloud so you can easily access it from any device!

  • Highly secure
  • Shared access
  • Available anywhere
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