6 ways to store your photos safely

Photos help capture the best moments of our lives. But, if you want to keep them private, storing them securely is essential. This enhances their privacy and yours. Even if you share all your photos online, it’s wise to have a secure backup.

Although there are cloud services that help you upload photos and secure them, there are various other methods you can opt for. Here are some handy ways to secure your photos.

1. Use an external hard drive or SSD

The cheapest way to store your photos safely is to organize them locally on an external storage drive.

Considering it is an offline storage mode, you don’t need to worry about malicious attackers through the internet. What’s more, you can take the storage drive anywhere with you and you don’t need internet access to check your photos or show them to anyone.

You can choose to encrypt the entire disk for enhanced security. Note that encrypting the drive can affect performance and you will likely need to enter the password each time you access it.

2. Use a network storage device

A network-attached storage (NAS) is an on-premises storage solution with optional cloud services. It is designed for businesses or professionals with a huge collection of photos and videos to store.

However, you can also use it for personal use if you want a robust backup solution for all your files and photos. Unlike a traditional hard drive, a NAS device includes a clustered configuration where redundant copies of your data are kept for added security. Unless the device suffers serious physical damage, you can rely on it for a long time.

Synology NAS is one of the most popular options on the market. The Synology DS220j is ideal for beginners, for example. You can explore more options that offer warranty and recovery services.

And you can use related cloud services supported by NAS devices to keep a cloud backup of your local storage. Cloud services offer encryption and other essential security features to help you keep them private.

3. Encrypt photos on your computer

You can choose to encrypt the files using software (which we recommend) or not if there is no risk of unauthorized access to your files.

Tools like Cryptomator help you encrypt your files. Note that you can also access these types of tools on mobile, but they may not be free to use. And some third-party options may not work as expected.

You can encrypt a folder or individual files. It is ideal for creating a folder with your collection and encrypting it. To continue, you must create a master password to decrypt locked files. Be sure to create a complex password and, if necessary, write it down in a safe place in case you forget it.

Without the password, you cannot recover your photos. So you need to pay attention to the password when encrypting your photos.

Photo encryption adds another layer of security. Even if your files are compromised, you cannot access them without your master password.

4. Use a secure cloud storage service

Encrypting your photos, creating a password and having a copy of them seems like a lot of work. Additionally, you should ensure that your encrypted files are regularly backed up (to a cloud service or NAS). Still, it’s worth it for the peace of mind.

If you don’t want the hassle, you can automate the encryption process by uploading the photos to a good cloud storage service. A few secure cloud storage services offer end-to-end encryption and privacy features. By using such a service, you can keep your files encrypted and have cloud backup at the same time. With end-to-end encryption, the service provider (and its employees) cannot access the files.

You can use a cloud storage service on multiple devices (including smartphones), which should come in handy. However, it’s always a good idea to investigate the privacy policy of these services to see if you can trust them and learn how they protect your data.

Also, like a master password for your encrypted files, you need a strong password to secure your online account. A password manager can help make things more convenient.

5. Create your server

If you hate local storage and don’t trust cloud storage services, take control of your data with your own server.

You can create a server (on site or in the cloud) and deploy software like Piwigo or Nextcloud to upload and manage your photos. With this option, you can control your data, keep it private and organize it the way you want.

However, it takes time and technical expertise to create a server, whether local or cloud-based. If you are ready for it, you can go for this option. Depending on your technical expertise, you will have many ways to secure your data.

Note that this is not recommended for everyone; only for tech savvy.

6. Encrypt your mobile device

While it’s easy to use a secure cloud service, you can also use your smartphone to protect your photos.

Almost all modern Android devices have encryption enabled by default (for internal storage). If you are using microSD storage expansion, you can access device settings and encrypt it. Note that you should expect a performance hit with encryption enabled.

With an iOS device, you must configure a password to enable data encryption. Anyway, there are plenty of ways to hide photos on your phone.

As long as you don’t share the photos with anyone and protect your device from unauthorized access, encrypting your phone is a good choice.

Protect your photos to preserve them and improve privacy

Whether you want to create a secure archive for your photos or want to protect them from malicious attacks, it’s easy to secure images or entire galleries.

Choose a safe location for your photos using whatever method works for you.

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