Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Waiting for disaster: new survey from Ontrack data recovery shows a majority of computer users invite data loss

MINNEAPOLIS – Sept. 12, 2006 – According to a new survey* from Ontrack Data Recovery, the world’s leading data recovery provider, a majority of people invite the loss of critical computer data by waiting for their computers to break down and neglecting proper backup procedures. Despite the fact that 79 percent of people place significant value on their data – 40 percent 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,” said Jim Reinert, senior director of Software and Services for Ontrack Data Recovery. “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, the survey shows a high level of preparation is rare. When asked how long they plan to use their current computer, 58 percent of respondents said “until it dies on me” or “until it starts to get skittish.” Coupled with the fact that 63 percent of people back up their critical data less than once a month – and 23 percent 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 percent of the people we surveyed have experienced data loss in the past, so data protection habits clearly need to change,” added Reinert.

In order to help people avoid future pitfalls, Ontrack offers the following 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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. Twenty seven percent of respondents didn’t do anything when they lost data and only four percent 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.

*Ontrack surveyed more than 1,400 computer users in June 2006 – not a scientific survey

About Ontrack Data Recovery

Ontrack Data Recovery is the largest, most experienced and technologically advanced provider of data recovery products and services worldwide. Ontrack is able to recover lost or corrupted data from virtually all operating systems and types of storage devices through its do-it-yourself, remote and in-lab capabilities, using its hundreds of proprietary tools and techniques. Ontrack Data Recovery is a brand name of Kroll Ontrack Inc., a technology services subsidiary of Kroll Inc., the global risk consulting company.