Having a backup solution does not prevent data loss

An idle moment gave me time to look over photos I’ve taken over the years. I noticed that the number of digital have grown exponentially over the last five years. More interesting, since I started using my Nokia Lumia 1520 I’ve racked up more photos in five months than the whole of the last year.

So how much data do we create? If you believe IDC, the analyst says the world created 1.9 trillion gigabytes of data in 2012 and predicts this number to grow to 40 trillion by 2012. And 70 percent of the culprits for this data explosion are you and me.

While we all probably value this mountain of data we are building, we don’t really think much about the importance until we lose it – parts or all. This happened to me years ago when during a Mac OSX upgrade, the OS notified me that it would also upgrade the firewire firmware of my Lacie external hardware. In the process, I lost all 180GB of photos and family videos.

An annual customer survey by Kroll Ontrack suggests that majority of consumers and businesses are taking steps to back up their data. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a range of minor oversights rendered those steps ineffective.

Sixty-five percent of survey respondents had a backup solution in place at the time of data loss, up from 60 percent in 2013. Of those respondents, 59 percent used an external hard drive, 15 percent had cloud backup and 10 percent used a tape backup system. Additionally, 55 percent said they diligently backed up their data on a daily basis.

So why did they still lose their data? Regardless of the solution or backup frequency, data loss may have occurred as a result of one of the following oversights and/or failures:

  • The external drive was only connected on an occasional basis; backup not automated and instead performed on demand
  • The computer was not on during a scheduled backup and not configured to perform at a different time
  • The backup software failed
  • The backup ran out of destination space
  • The backup profile did not cover all of the device requiring backup
  • A file was lost before a scheduled backup occurred

According to Abhik Mitra, backing up data is just one step in a complete backup strategy. “Regularly ensuring your backup solution works effectively and the data is accessible is also paramount,” he adds.

Among the findings of the survey of 642 recent Ontrack Data Recovery customers across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific: 64 percent claimed losing business data (compared to 67 percent in 2013) and 36 percent experienced a personal data loss (compared to 33 percent in 2013). Of the 35 percent (compared to 40 percent in 2013) that did not have a backup solution at the time of loss, 53 percent said they are extremely likely to seek a backup solution, followed by 36 percent that are somewhat likely. When asked about the primary barriers that kept them from seeking a backup solution, time to research and administer a backup solution was once again the most common reason, cited by 49 percent in 2014 compared to 55 percent in 2013. Expense of backup solution, cited by 27 percent of respondents, was the next most common barrier to leveraging a backup solution.

“With backup technology getting better in quality and price, it is no surprise we saw an uptick in the percentage of people implementing a backup solution,” Mitra said. “What is interesting is that that those that spend time, effort and money to implement the solution still experienced data loss, proving that one needs to be extremely diligent to ensure their chosen backup method is successful. If all else fails, the final line of defense should include enlisting the assistance of a reputable and experienced data recovery provider.”
Kroll Ontrack advises that individuals and businesses alike should diligently monitor and verify their chosen method of backup to ensure it is successfully operating and capturing a current, accurate snapshot. The company recommends assessing your personal data loss risk using the Kroll Ontrack Data Calculator and then taking the necessary steps to implement a backup system keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Take the time to invest in a backup solution and set up a backup schedule
  • Ensure backups are running regularly in accordance with the determined schedule
  • Check backup reports for error indications or failure
  • Test backups on a regular basis to ensure data has been accurately captured and files are intact
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