Nearly two gigabytes of data – equivalent to all of the songs on someone’s iPod Nano, for example – is lost every minute of the day. Figures like this underscore 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.
Unfortunately, a survey shows a high level of preparation is rare. When asked how long they plan to use their current computer, 58% of respondents said “until it dies on me” or “until it starts to get skittish”. Coupled with the fact that 63% of people back up their critical data less than once a month – and 23% never perform backups – the outlook for safe and secure data is not good.
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% of the people surveyed have experienced data loss in the past, so data protection habits clearly need to change.
In order to help people avoid future pitfalls, here is some simple advice that every person can perform to protect their computer data:
Make Backups Regularly – Backups of all critical data should be made at least weekly to ensure that important files are up to date. With 64% of people experiencing multiple computers crashes within the past year, doing backups monthly or even more infrequently leaves too much to chance.
Test Backups Periodically – Although some people actually do backup their computer data, 45% never bother to check if those backups actually work. It is crucial to verify all backups to make sure that your important files and photos are there when you need them.
Store Backups in an Offsite Location – Another important step that is missed by a majority of computer users is storing all backups in an offsite location. Only 17% of respondents said they store their backups offsite, 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 fires or floods.
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 can assess the health of your hard disk drive, file structures, and computer memory by identifying problems that could cause data loss. Most quality programs can be used to both diagnose current problems and/or as part of a regular maintenance program to identify potential problems that could lead to future data loss.
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% of respondents didn’t do anything when they lost data and only 4% 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 your data as soon as possible.