Storing data for the long term is vital. Companies want their data to be stored safely, of course, but it’s also crucial for private individuals to be able to keep personal memories such as photos or videos as well as legal or financial documents for as long as possible.
There are a lot of challenges to storing digital data over the long term, though. Digital storage media such as hard drives and SSDs can degrade and fail over time. File formats can become outdated, making them incompatible with newer software. Security risks such as hacker attacks, malware, and natural disasters also threaten stored data.
One of the best options for long-term digital storage is archival M-Disc (Millennial Disc) type CDs. Unlike conventional CDs and DVDs, they use a special data layer made of materials that are resistant to degradation by UV light and moisture.
The manufacturers promise that these discs can last up to a thousand years or more (though real tests naturally aren’t feasible). M-Discs are available in various storage capacities and aren’t all that expensive. You can get four M-Discs with 100 gigabytes of memory each for around $20 at Amazon, or a spindle of 100 25GB M-Discs for $65. They work with standard Blu-ray writers and readers.
If you want to store data for decades or even centuries, using archival optical discs like M-Discs. That said, even with the most durable data medium, you should still make regular backups to prevent data loss.