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...having a close family friend that was a firefighter... Fireproof safes aren't going to help you. While the stuff inside may technically not BURN, it will absolutely still be destroyed because of the heat.
GREAT ADVICE! Does anyone know the best way to add a second level of protection for a USB flash drive stored in a small fireproof safe? Safes specifically designed for media are VERY expensive. It appears another internal insulation layer within the safe would only have to provide an additional 20-30 degree temperature reduction to make flash drive survival more likely.

- Use a fireproof money bag?
- Fill a small box with spray foam (center cut-out for drive)
- Wrap drive in some sort of flexible foam?
- Buy something intended for this purpose?

I agree offsite backups are the only reliable and cost-effective way to avoid data loss from a house fire, Even so, adding a little protection for local backups can't hurt. I'm hoping someone has found a solution.
 

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There are two types of fire safes that I have seen in the consumer line. Well there are likely more but that is what I found in my search a few years back.

Many of your less expensive office type safes which is what I started with use a liquid type fire protection. I started with a Sentry Home/Office Safe. I largely had paperwork in there but I found that no matter how much I tried to protect the paperwork with desiccant pouches or silica I would always have moisture issues. I would be concerned with moisture when it comes to electronics on these. They are also harder to pass through data/power so that means taking them out of the safe to perform your backups. This is more work, if it is more work the more likely you will put it off to another day.

I bought a Liberty Gun Safe a few years back. Because guns are sensitive to moisture and I have a golden rod on there, there isn't any issue with moisture. They use a fireproofing that is more like drywall/sheetrock between the layers of steel. They also make an outlet/usb/network kit to pass through your connections to inside of the safe.

Liberty has pretty long fire ratings on their safes but don't mistake that for protecting your data. If you go this route, I would avoid flash/ssd drives. Go spinning disks. I would also probably say avoid Synology and RAID in general. While I love Synology, the fact remains that if you go to get your data from the firesafe post fire, odds are you are not going to plug the drive into a new computer and copy it back. You are more likely than not going to be enlisting the support of a data recovery service such as OnTrack. While they likely could recover data from a fancy Synology or RAID enclosure, why make it more difficult. If you just give them a basic drive with nothing fancy, it simplifies things to give them a better chance at data recovery. It also means they will spend less time and it will likely not be as expensive to recover the data. I have used a basic 4TB drive slapped into a basic USB enclosure. the reason I say to plan on using a recovery service like this is that if you plan on it, then maybe you consider insurance for this (maybe homeowners has a rider or additional coverage for this). It may not be needed but if it is you are prepared for it. The fact remains that while a fire safe can protect against flame, it doesn't against heat and that safe will turn into a big oven. Placement can help. Keep it close to an exterior wall. You are in FL so most likely don't have a basement but if you do put it in a basement but away from appliances. The last thing you want is to have it fall through the floor into the basement and break open. Or be right next to a ruptured gas line that is like a blow torch. Of course you then have the flood risk. On a slab a lot of these concerns are lessened.

As you even mentioned, offsite is the best. Running out and buying a Liberty Gun safe if that is the only thing in it really isn't cost effective. You could buy a second Synology and internet service for a friend/family member for a long time rather than go that route. The data backed up in Synology to Synology transfer can be encrypted so even though the device is sitting on their network, they can't access the data.

The fact remains that with no matter what
 

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Don't waste your time, effort, or money. Make another copy, on another drive, and store it elsewhere. Done.
^^^^This. You can buy a 2nd flash drive dirt cheap. Go to Bass Pro, Cabelas or any other sporting goods store and buy a $5 dry box. Put the flash drive in dry box and store it in your car, out in the back yard under a rock, in a shed, whatever... Just make sure you update it once a month or so.
 

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And password protect your USB drives
 

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For quite a few years I would keep a copy of my data in my pole barn. I have CAT 5E run out there (well not at the moment and it will likely get upgrade to fiber) but I would use that as my offsite storage. We don't have too many wild fires here in MN so if a fire took out my house, odds of it spreading to the pole barn was low. I haven't done that for quite a while now though.
 

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I have a computer in my detached garage that is networked to my main desktop in the house. Whenever I make any changes, on any computer, I always back the data up, then copy and paste to the networked computer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Originally Posted by meburdick
Don't waste your time, effort, or money. Make another copy, on another drive, and store it elsewhere. Done.


Resolution: After costing out various options and assessing risks, I decided to use the free 7-Zip utility to create a backup archive of my most critical files (with AES256 encryption) and store them on OneDrive. I can automate this process so it's always up to date.

I will also put a similar, larger archive file on a flash drive for retention at a friend's house. It won't be updated weekly, but I can easily do that a few times per year, which is much better than my current practice of burning a DVD annually. I'll keep exploring the Synology NAS option to see if I might be able to link up any of my friends for mutual protection.

THANKS!

 

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Don't waste your time, effort, or money. Make another copy, on another drive, and store it elsewhere. Done.
This is the best advice anyone can give. Replicate - replicate - replicate. Keep password protected copies at friends and relatives.

Also, if you have a safety deposit box at the bank, that is a good place to put flash and backup drives.

I would trust any of the above suggestions WAY more than I would trust anything in the "Cloud".
 

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I'm a "cloud" guy-Carbonite to be specific and have been for about 5 years, it's come in handy several times already for both me and my wife. I don't have the time, energy, or discipline for any other manual or semi-manual backup option.
 

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I'm a "cloud" guy-Carbonite to be specific and have been for about 5 years, it's come in handy several times already for both me and my wife. I don't have the time, energy, or discipline for any other manual or semi-manual backup option.
I used to use Carbonite myself. It was okay for the occasional file retrieval but useless for any situation where restoring a lot of files was needed as it was way too slow. It also cannot do a bare metal restore like would be needed when your hard drive fails.

I’ve been using Acronis True Image for the last 19 years. When a hard drive fails you boot from the recovery CD or thumb drive , point it to your backup media and when finished your computer is exactly like it was when the backup was taken.

I’ve used it on several PCs to recover from failed drives and to upgrade from a hard drive to SSD.

When adopting any emergency data recovery procedure it is important to adopt a plan that provides an efficient restore process more so than a convenient backup process.
 
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