Revealed: What people are getting seriously wrong about photo storage

cloud storage
(Image credit: iStock)

More than a quarter of people do not back up their photos at all, an exclusive TechRadar Pro poll has revealed. 

The results of the 1000-person survey, conducted by OnePulse on our behalf, suggest a staggering number of users are leaving their old photos open to data loss in the event of a device failure or security breach. 

Asked about their cloud storage preferences and data backup habits, 25.6% of respondents admitted they do not use photo cloud storage to secure their media.

Where is digital media being kept? 

When it comes to choosing a storage medium, the largest group of people (37.4%) choose physical drives over cloud storage (33.4%). That includes 12.2% relying on USB flash drives, 5.6% backing up on tape, and 19.6% using external hard drives and NAS drives

Despite consumer and business cloud storage services playing a greater role in securing our digital lives, physical devices overall remain the favored solution. 

The poll also revealed which cloud-based service is most popular, with more than half of respondents saying they “store photos mostly on Google”. 

Most (42.1%) opt for the free version, undeterred by the upload and resolution limits imposed on those who don’t subscribe to Google One. But just under 20% pay for their photo storage, either with Google or a Google Photos alternative

Facebook proved a surprisingly popular choice, with 8.9% making use of the social network’s cloud facilities. A further 8.4% use other free services to store their photos. 

Reviewing results

TechRadar Pro’s poll offers a glimpse at how we’re choosing to safeguard the media that matters most to us. 

Today, videos and images hold untold value. Any heart-breaking loss - whether it’s a stolen device or a data breach - comes with major security and privacy implications too. 

However, resistance to photo backup (as with the 21% who don’t store images online at all) might, in part, be guided by other security and privacy concerns. It’s no secret that cloud data breaches are on the up, causing trust in tech companies to wane. 

Businesses may also be struggling to create and maintain a strong media backup process. With so many digital assets flowing between departments, the resources needed to properly catalog and store them take time most firms don’t have.

Promisingly, however, nearly 71% have photo backups in case of issues. And it’s almost neck and neck between physical and cloud storage, for now. 

We expect online photo backup to snatch the lead in future; it’s too convenient and built into daily lives - and not just on our phones and home computers. Like video conferencing, the shift to remote and hybrid working means everyone is now familiar with cloud storage. 

Steve Clark
B2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.