If you're curious to what's the best way to store your digital files or photos. I wanted to share my experience and knowledge on the importance of storage and being able to keep your digital files for a long time to come. To start things off it's smart to have two separate storage devices that mirror each other, just in case one fails or crashes. Purchasing external hard drives instead of storing images directly onto your computer's hard drive is the best idea. Filling up your computer's hard drive with images will eventually slow your computer's working speed, and you'll be frustrated. So use external hard drives and always keep 70% of your computer's hard drive open and available for maximum downloading and working speed. The cost of hard drives really depends on the amount of storage you need. 1TB is more than enough space for a typical humanoid. Photographers typically use 1 TB every 6 months or so (videographers even more), but our files are larger than what a client would receive on delivery of digital files. A 1 TB hard drive ranges from $120-$250. I suggest checking B&H Photo-Video website for great reviews and the best cost on electronics. I recommend LaCie hard drives, I've never had one crash on me and the speed of transferring is excellent. Remember if you're not using your external hard drive then turn it off, it's never good to keep them running if you're not using.
Say NO to CDs!! They only last a couple years, especially if you mark on one with a Sharpie. Just stay away from thinking a CD will store your images for years to come. It's fine to have them to temporarily store your digital files, but transfer them over to your hard drive as soon as you can.
Cloud space is another way to go, I say use it as a third back up to your hard drives. It's much slower to upload compared to a hard drive and really depends on your internet speed. Flickr is a good route to go, they are only $25 a year for unlimited space and have a cool interface that is easy to use. There's a ton of sites out there, so it will probably come down to what interface you like, cost and/or what you might already have (icloud, shutterfly, etc...).
One last thing, manage and organize these digital files so you can easily reference them. It will make your life much easier. Below is how I do it. Year, Category, and Date of Shoot with a short description. There's no perfect way to do it, but I've had no issues with trying to find certain photos later down the road.
Hope this helps you understand the importance of image storage and how to. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments.