About The Author

David Grabitske

David Grabitske is the manager of outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

McLeod County Historical Society uses Past Perfect Museum Software on its network computer system, like many small historical museums. In the last three years we have been adding a tremendous amount of digital media, i.e. photos and recordings, to the system. This has created some storage and backup problems for us. My board would like to explore the option of offsite memory storage, and was wondering if any other organizations have done this or have looked into it. 

Lori Pickell-Stangel
Executive Director

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3 Responses to Offsite Data Storage

  1. Mary Warner says:

    Lori – As it turns out, one of the items on my to-do list is to figure out how much online backup services cost. Your query spurred me to do my research. I googled “online data backup services” and got 21,000,000 hits. I ran through a bunch of the links on the first page and found there are a number of things to keep in mind when investigating online backup services.

    Cost is one consideration. Some services charge by the month, some by the year. Some offer unlimited data backup, some limit it to so many gigabytes per month. Some charge for each computer you need backed up, some offer bulk licensing for several computers. Most plans differentiate between server backups and computer backups.

    In addition to cost, you’ll want to see how reliable the service is and how secure your data will be. What happens if the online backup service has a crash? Do they have a backup? Does the service seem like it’s going to be around for a while? Does it keep its system up-to-date? Is your data encrypted? Is the service easy for you to access? Can you access it from anywhere? Is the backup automatic or manual?

    Does the service support your operating system? (Not all cover Macs. Most seem to cover a number of Windows operating systems, even older ones, but not all of them do, so you’ll want to check this.)

    More questions than answers at this point, especially without any direct experience with a backup service. I’ll probably need to create a spreadsheet to do proper comparisons between the services.

    Seems to me that all of us local history orgs are going to need this kind of service eventually. I wonder if it would be a good idea to create a cooperative to handle this … a Legacy Amendment grant project, maybe? Hmm.


  2. Thomas Higgins says:

    How much data do you have stored in Past Perfect? I just started helping the Scituate Historical Society with their Past Perfect installation and am curious about other groups use of this product. Do use the product for your imaging and archive collection?


  3. Here at the Martin County Historical Society we have been using flash drives, CDs, and primarily External Hard Drives that are taken off site by staff every day. Memory is much, much cheaper than it had been in years past so external hard drives can be purchased at a reasonable price.

    I haven’t had much experience with an online backup service but I could see the clear benefit would be the accessiblity. Being able to access your data from any computer could be really handy.

    I think that for pure backup purposes though an external hard drive would be more than adequate. Good 1 or 2 terabyte (A terabyte = 1000 GB) external hard drives can be purchased for between $100-300.

    As Mary has pointed out there are a number of questions that come along with Online backup services. Having a third part take care of anything will always raise a lot of questions and the external HDs. As far as PastPerfect our administrative assistant just uses flash drives (between 8 and 18 GB) to back it up.


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