It is a sad fact that you only realize how crucial photo backup software is by going through the process of losing some treasured digital photos following a power surge to your computer or accidental deletion. This article looks at the variety of backup locations, software and best practices in photo backups.
The traditional approach has been to store your files to some form of local media (CD/DVD) and for this all you need is CD burner software. This option is cost-effective, quick and it is easy to store and distribute the disks to friends (which help increase the number of backup copies you can call upon if needed).
Modern advances in external storage devices/drives mean you can transfer huge volumes of photos to an external drive. As such, you don't need to use photo backup software to do this as you can just copy the files between folders.
However, using standard backup software can automate the process (e.g. schedule backups daily) and synchronize files between multiple locations for you (i.e. from your camera to the computer and also to the external drive). The only downside is that losing the drive and your computer (theft, fire damage, etc.) together could cause all your photos to be lost forever.
Storing photos online is the modern way to share photos, requiring no photo backup software other than a browser. Picasa and Flickr can store copies of all your photos, but the resolution may be compromised (reduced/compressed) in comparison to the originals. You could also consider online backup services that can store all manner of data from your computer to their servers – at least this way the original file is stored.
As with backing up any form of data the key is to keep at least two copies of your photos, ideally in two different locations and you should never erase the camera memory of photos until you've got your pictures stored away to two other media.