Don’t Wait for a Data Disaster

Research from Ontrack Data Recovery reveals majority of computer users invite data loss through backup neglect.

The majority of computer users are putting critical data unnecessarily at risk by waiting for computers to break down and neglecting proper backup procedures. These findings are according to research from Ontrack Data Recovery, which surveyed over 1,400 computer users.

When asked how long they plan to use their current computer, 58 per cent of respondents said “until it dies on me” or “until it starts to play up.” Coupled with the fact that 63 per cent of people back up critical data less than once a month, and 23 per cent never perform backups, the outlook for safe and secure data is not promising.

Despite the fact that 79 per cent of people place significant value on their data, 40 per cent classifying it as “priceless”, poor data protection techniques will doom many people to experience data loss at some point.

According to Ontrack’s recovery operations, two gigabytes of data – equivalent to all of the songs on someone’s iPod Nano, for example – is lost every minute of the day. In order to help people avoid future pitfalls, Ontrack offers the following simple advice that everyone can perform to protect their computer data:

1. Back up regularly – Backups of all critical data should be made at least weekly to ensure important files are up to date. With 64 per cent of people experiencing multiple computers crashes within the past year, doing backups monthly or even more infrequently leaves too much to chance

2. Test backups periodically – Although some people actually do back up their computer data, 45 per cent never bother to check if those backups actually work

3. Store backups separately – Only 17 per cent of respondents said they store backups in a different place, with the majority indicating their backups are on media in the same room as the computer. This is not effective if that location is hit by natural disasters such as fire or flood

4. Monitor your computer’s health – Don’t wait for your computer to break down because you’ll risk losing your data. There are several computer diagnostic tools on the market that assess the health of your hard disk drive, file structures, and computer memory. Most quality programs can be used to both diagnose current problems and as part of a regular maintenance programme to identify potential problems that could lead to future data loss

5. Consider data recovery – Sometimes, despite even the best data protection efforts, data loss still happens. In these times, it is important to know that data recovery exists and can help with a majority of situations. 27 per cent of respondents didn’t do anything when they lost data and only four per cent contacted a data recovery company. Without solid backups, a data recovery company might be the only option, so it’s important to find a professional provider ahead of time that can return data as soon as possible

“Given all of the options available for data protection these days, waiting for your computer to malfunction and wipe out your files is extremely reckless. More than 60 per cent of the people we surveyed have experienced data loss in the past, so data protection habits clearly need to change,” said Phil Bridge, managing director, Ontrack Data Recovery UK. “Statistics like this consolidate the fact that it is only a matter of time before every hard drive breaks down. With more valuable information being stored now than ever before, people need to be aware of the risks and plan accordingly.”

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