Jan 23 2014

If Our Data Is So Important to Us, Why Don’t We Take Better Care of It?

A new survey from Acronis finds users care more about data than devices, but more than one-third are unwilling to spend more than $100 to retrieve it when it’s lost.

The revolution may or may not be televised, but it most certainly will be digitized. The statistics around our increasingly mobilized world are staggering. The digital universe is predicted to reach 40 zettabytes by 2020, according to IDC, which is 50 times larger than the digital universe in 2010.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and countless apps are generating mountains of data that we treasure, but don’t always have a backup for. In large part, many users take these Internet platforms for granted. Yes, today, Facebook is building new data centers, to keep up with our bottomless appetite for digital content. But what happens if six years from now, the social networking giant goes belly up and disappears? How will people retrieve precious images of their newborn babies or graduation ceremonies?

Backup and recovery solution provider Acronis surveyed users about their relationships with data to better understand what people do with their data and how far they’re willing to go to keep it.

The survey, which polled 818 respondents, revealed two critical things:

  • 53 percent say their personal pictures are the most important things to them versus their videos, music, etc.
  • 74 percent say the value of their personal files is more important than the devices themselves.

With those two data points in mind, this third finding from the Acronis survey is a head-scratcher: Only one-third of respondents say they’re willing to pay more than $100 to get their files back in the event of a crash.

If data is the most important thing to users, why the disconnect when it comes to protecting it? Nat Maple, senior vice president and general manager of global consumer business at Acronis, thinks people need more education on the threats their data faces.

“Most people don’t understand how vulnerable their data really is, and think that if it’s simply saved on their computer, then it’s safe and sound,” he says. “The truth is that we’re creating more data than ever before, and a hard drive has a 50 percent chance of crashing after just six years. With odds like that, our mission is clear: we need to share the message that backing up your information is crucial, especially as more aspects of our lives become digitized (pictures, videos, music, finances, etc.).”

Local and Cloud Storage Working in Harmony

So what’s the answer to our data dilemma? A two-pronged strategy that incorporates both local storage and the cloud.

“The number of individuals and businesses alike moving from physical to digital storage is growing exponentially each year,” Maple says. “The cloud offers some huge advantages — scalability, cost-effectiveness and reliability. Utilizing both storage technologies is much safer than only backing up on a physical server, which can be damaged, misplaced or broken.”

Aren’t user photos uploaded on social media platforms already in the cloud? Yes, but files hosted on Facebook, Flickr and other social media sites are not hosted on infrastructures users own or control.

Beyond the personal implications of losing family photos, many businesses are risking their corporate data with insufficient storage planning.

“File/folder and local backup aren’t enough to get a business and its employees up and running again quickly after data loss. It takes an incredible amount of time and money to restore a system without the proper backup solution,” Maple says. “In order to protect themselves, businesses need to have a progressive IT department armed with a solution that provides a full system backup on- and offsite, that would significantly reduce the amount of friction during a complete system restore.”

Along with its findings, Acronis has also released an infographic which illustrates some of the disasters littering the digital data landscape. For example, one in five hard drives will not last more than four years.

Check out the full infographic below.

backup and recovery life