Digital Backup: Space and Infrastructure

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Earlier this month, we explored digital backups and how to choose a tool that’s right for you in the post: Digital Backup: No More Excuses. The next two steps go hand in hand: 1. establish or fine-tuning your digital file structure; and 2. calculate how much space you need in a digital backup tool.

1. Establish a Digital File Structure: Determining how much space you need (and setting up the file synching function) will be so much easier when your digital files are organized. Are your digital files splashed across your desktop for easy access,? Or, are they meticulously filed in multiple layers of sub-file folders? Depending on your work, what files you create, what they’re for, and how often – will lend itself to different organizational schemes and is something to seriously consider. However, the best approach for the majority of digital file owners is to have a file folder system with limited use of sub-folders. Consistent naming of folder and files are important, as is the use of Month and Year. The image below is a general example of what I’m describing for file organization and folder naming.

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 3.10.17 PM

2. Calculate How Much Digital Space You Need: Now that you have your digital files in and easy-to-use organizational scheme, you can check how much space those files are taking. In this example, my main folder container of digital files is “Consulting”, and by right-clicking on that folder and selecting “Get Info” (PC instructions will vary), I see that the digital files take up 373.8MB of space. Next, consider how long you’ve been contributing digital files to that folder so that you can calculate your monthly rate of digital file space increase. For example, say I’ve spent 15 months creating 374MB of digital files: 374/15 = 24.93333. So, 25MB is my estimated monthly digital file creation size. Now, build in at least two years of digital file space on top of your existing digital files to give you time for digital file growth (and backup). For example, currently I have 374MB of digital files, and I want two years of extra space to create and backup more digital files. Take your estimated monthly file creation number, in this case 25MB, and multiple it by 24 months (2 years): 25MB x 24mo = 600MB. By using this equation, I know I need 374MB (current files) + 600MB (projected future digital file growth) = 974MB. I now know that I need a digital file backup system for at least 974MB of files to take me through the next two years of digital file creation and backup.


If your digital file space needs are fairly low, then you’re likely able to go with a free version of the digital backup tool you choose. If you’re a frequent digital file creator and/or create very large digital files (such as photographs and videos), then you will likely need to invest in a larger version of the digital backup tool.

If you have any questions on how to get started, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me questions. I provide a free 30 minute consult call, or you’re welcome to email me: [email protected].

Rachael Cristine

Image courtesy of Christiaan Colen, via Flickr’s Creative Commons (, and follows the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License: Image downloaded for use October 2017, and was not purposefully altered.

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