March 31st, 2016, is the fifth anniversary of World Backup Day, a day Reddit users proclaimed, to remind everyone to back up their data. Kroll Ontrack sees approximately 40,000 cases of data loss globally each year and each year we survey those who have experienced data loss to see if there is any common correlation which can be avoided by other technology users.
This year one stat on this survey stood out, 86 percent of respondents had a backup solution in place at the time of their data loss. If we are always preaching: “Backup. Backup. Backup,” why didn’t it help these 86 percent? Well, there are additional steps needed to properly back up your data. Unfortunately, you cannot set up the backup on World Backup Day and walk away thinking “I’ve done my due diligence.” It is a step in the right direction, but a little more is needed.
Let’s take a closer look at the survey results. Of those 86 percent who had backups in place at the time of loss, 22 percent describe their backup solution as not operating properly. This could be that it their backup solution didn’t copy all of their data or that some of the data was missed. Maybe the backup media had wasn’t operational when they went to retrieve the data? A very plausible cause.
Another 21 percent reported that their device which lost data was not included in their backup solution. The laptop was backed up, but the recently smashed tablet was not? Maybe it was a new laptop for a teen which had not been included in Mom and Dad’s backup plan. Whatever the case, their devices were missed.
The last large group of 21 percent says their backup was not current. If you backed up your data on the last World Backup Day and have not done it since, now is the time to do it again. What would you lose if the last 12 months were not backed up?
There are two steps we all must do with the backups that we create. First we need to make sure we schedule regular backups. How valuable is your daily, weekly, monthly, yearly data to you. If you run a home business and would lose 10 orders a day if you lost your data, you would want to backup daily. On the other hand, if you use your phone strictly for taking selfies, that might be ok to backup yearly. Your backup schedule should be determined by the urgency and value of your data, a number only you can calculate.
The second step which is needed after backing up your data is to check your backups regularly. Doing an audit of your backups to make sure your method is working properly and all of your devices are included in your solution. This can be easily done and we recommend checking at least every 6 months, if not more. Again, you can determine the frequency by the value you place on your data.
If you have been diligently backing up your data on World Backup Day, my advice would be to use this fifth anniversary to audit your backups. Make sure everything is in working order before it’s too late. As we see data loss every day, we know it is not a matter of “if” it is a matter of “when” it will happen.
Read our press release for other findings from our World Backup Day Survey.