Today’s Question: You’ve talked about not using a cloud-based service to store photos being managed by Lightroom Classic, but is it OK if I save my catalog backups to a service like Dropbox so that I have those backups offsite?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, it is perfectly fine to save backup copies of your Lightroom Classic catalog to the cloud. I just recommend making sure you also have a copy of some recent backups stored locally so that your only backup isn’t stored offsite out of your control.
More Detail: I’ve answered questions in the past about using cloud-based storage services to store the Lightroom Classic catalog and/or photos. While it is technically possible to do so, I highly recommend against doing so due to the risk of data integrity issues.
However, it is perfectly fine to store the backup copies of your catalog with a cloud-based storage service. My only issue in this regard is not wanting to be completely dependent on a backup that you don’t control. Therefore, I recommend having at least several recent catalog backups stored locally.
With some cloud-based storage solutions you can designate that you want your local storage to be treated as primary storage, so that the cloud-based copy serves as more of a backup that also enables files to be access from a different computer or location. This could mean that you have your backups going to a local folder where they will remain, but that they will then be synchronized to the cloud to provide an offsite backup.
The primary purpose of a backup is to provide some way to recover from data loss, whether that is due to file corruption or hardware failure. I encourage you to use a backup workflow that includes more than one backup on drives you maintain locally, as well as an offsite backup copy. While you can manage an offsite backup yourself, using a cloud-based storage solution can be a great option as well.