Case Study: Photographer Manfred Baumann

Case Studies Feb 28, 2019

Triple security for Photographic Masterpieces


Star photographer Manfred Baumann uses a combination of Buffalo devices to protect his life’s work of hundreds of thousands of photos, and to always have access to his photo collection when working abroad.

Customer profile

Manfred Baumann was born in 1968 in Vienna, Austria. He presents his work worldwide in galleries, museums and publishes books and calendars. In recent years Baumann has become one of the most influential contemporary photographers.

The center of his life and work are in Europe and the USA. He has photographed Hollywood legends and international stars such as Sandra Bullock, William Shatner, Jack Black, Natalie Portman, Tony Curtis, Paul Anka, Lionel Richie, Kathleen Turner, John Malkovich, Bruce Willis, Juliette Lewis, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Rodriguez, Leah Remini and Evander Holyfield, as well as numerous international top models.

For Manfred Baumann, the fascination of photography lies above all in deviating from the familiar and capturing special moments. He loves to explore the world through the camera lens.

The challenge

As a photographer with over 20 years of experience, Manfred Baumann has witnessed the breakthrough of digital photography. In the beginning, digital photos were stored on compact discs and external hard drives. Picture sets for customers and stock image agencies were also burnt on CDs and sent by mail or courier. With increasing image resolutions, the need for storage grew, traveling more and more often to photo shootings and exhibitions abroad made storage on hard disks and CDs cumbersome and confusing. Previews and approvals of large and numerous files also require a lot of time when sent by post or even by email, which is better spent in creative processes.

The shelf life of self-burned CDs is limited to a few years and redundant data backup on external hard disks is complex. The new storage solution had to be easy to manage and backups created automatically.

The solution

The first step towards today’s solution was the network storage solution Buffalo LinkStation QVL (NAS #3), which Manfred Baumann set up a few years ago as a central storage unit. After a while, increasing requirements led him to switch to a more powerful TeraStation 3400D (NAS #2). The primary memory is now a Buffalo TeraStation 3410DN (NAS #1) with 16 terabytes of memory. With the last upgrade, the backup concept was also expanded to protect the image collection against data loss and unauthorized access. The devices (NAS #2 & NAS #3), which have been in use already for some time, continue to perform an important service as backup storage. The TeraStation 3410DN has a powerful dualcore processor from Annapurna Labs® and 1 GB DDR3 RAM memory. To ensure an efficient use of the existing storage space while at the same time providing high protection against hard disk failures, the hard disks are configured in RAID 5. For additional redundancy, the contents of the primary network storage are replicated in near real time to a TeraStation 3400D (NAS #2) located in a separate fire zone. Each night, all content is also transferred to the original LinkStation QVL (NAS 3), which is located at a different location. Every approximately six months, the new images are backed up and encrypted to an external hard drive with several terabytes of storage space, a Buffalo MiniStation. This external hard drive is stored in a safe in the unlikely event that the double backup fails or is destroyed in a fire.


Benefits for the company


Protection against loss

To Manfred Bauman losing his data would not only mean a financial and artistic set-back, but also have a huge emotional impact. Unique pieces of art would be irretrievably gone. He therefore takes data backup extremely seriously and saves all his images at least twice at any time. After a shooting, Baumann first copies the images to his Microsoft Surface Studio and then to NAS #1 for editing. Only when all the images are saved on NAS #1 and automatic replication is running on NAS #2 does he delete the images from the camera’s memory card. The RAID 5 configuration of the NAS solutions protects against the failure of a single hard disk. Although a NAS with RAID 6 would even support protection against the failure of up to two hard disks at the same time, Baumann chose RAID 5 deliberately, because it provides more storage space. The regular backups on NAS #2 and NAS #3 ensure that even if two hard disks are lost at the same time, there are still enough backups available on the first NAS to restore the data. Replication to the secondary NAS #2 protects against fire and theft, as well as total failure of the primary storage. If NAS #1 and NAS #2 fail at the same time, there is still a few hours old backup on NAS #3 at another location. And even if this is not accessible, the photos are on top safely stored on an external hard drive in the safe.

Protection against theft

In the face of cyber attacks, ransomware and theft security is a top priority for Buffalo. The TeraStation NAS systems are closed systems to which the user does not have root permissions. Thus, Buffalo rules out the possibility of installing insecure third-party applications that would pose a risk of malware and virus infection. The connection to different network services can further be restricted. For example, remote access to the backup storage NAS #2 and NAS #3 is not necessary and the corresponding services and ports are blocked.

Data on the drives is encrypted with AES 256 bit (TS3410DN) or AES 128 bit (TS3400D). In this way, hard disks stolen from the TeraStation cannot be read by other PCs or network storage devices. Buffalo’s TeraStation also supports encrypted data transfer via SFTP and access via WebAccess via HTTPS. The rights for authorized remote access can be configured in detail so that it can be defined precisely which user can access which data.

Even if the primary NAS were stolen, unauthorized access to the device would still be prevented thanks to Buffalo’s Boot Authentication feature: when the TeraStation boots up, it goes through an authentication process by linking it over the local network or VPN with a Windows server or PC. If authentication fails, the boot process is blocked. You can also disable the ‘Restore Factory Defaults’ button on the web interface. To prevent theft in the first place, the TeraStation can be secured with a Kensington lock and the door to the hard drive bays can be locked. The external MiniStation Safe hard disk can also be hardware encrypted.

All data in one place

Sorting image files on numerous CDs and external hard drives is not practical for a lifetime work with over 250,000 images. The media archive on the Buffalo NAS can be sorted into folders so that old treasures can easily be retrieved from anywhere - even via mobile devices.

Automatic synchronization with Dropbox

The Buffalo TeraStation 3410DN offers integrated, automatic synchronization with a connected Dropbox account via its web interface. Manfred Baumann uses this feature for his best and most important works, such as photo selections for illustrated books and galleries, as well as his portraits of Hollywood stars.

External Access

Remote access to the TeraStation 3410DN is possible via an FTP browser, WebAccess or via the Dropbox synchronization function. No matter which method Manfred Baumann uses to provide his works, the customer always sees the latest data. This makes the process of editing and approving images more convenient, since it is not necessary to send large files back and forth nor to provide a new link with every change.

The remote access function also helps him during his numerous workshops and photography courses he holds at universities, in master classes, at photography fairs and for companies such as the Leica Academy USA throughout the world. In addition, remote access enables the immediate backup of newly created images from anywhere in the world.

Buffalo Customer Service

Buffalo offers Manfred Baumann and all other TeraStation customers a three-year warranty and *free next business day warranty service. This includes an advance device replacement as well as a replacement of defect hard disks within 24 hours. This ensures that there is no prolonged downtime in the event of a technical problem. Buffalo’s technical customer service also provides rapid assistance via telephone hotline.

*Free next business day warranty service is valid through 3/31/2019 on select TeraStation devices.