Quick, what’s more important - all the photos of your family, partner and children on your shiny smartphone, or the smartphone itself? What do you value more, your data, or your device?
Naturally, people value both, but data itself has grown to become far more valuable than the often easily replaceable devices they live on.
With backups, data can be safely restored, but without backups, data is gone forever, and unless a lost device is found again, you can never get lost data back.
In any case, March 31 is known as international 'World Backup Day’, and it is thus no surprise to see one of the leaders in backup and data storage, Acronis, sponsoring a new global study on the topic.
The study ‘reveals a growing understanding about the value of, and attitudes toward, the protection of personal data on computers, mobile phones and tablet devices.’
It reveals that ‘more than half of survey respondents have more than four devices in a household to protect and 47% of Australians fear losing photos and videos the most,’ while ‘security, adequate storage capacity and ease-of-use were cited as key requirements for backing up data.’
So, what are the emerging concerns for personal data protection that Acronis uncovered?
We are told that the ‘traditional fears of hardware failure and accidental deletion are no longer the sole reasons people fear data loss.’
Cyber-threats such as ransomware, which Acronis astutely notes is ‘a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system and its data until a sum of money is paid, is a growing threat to individuals and businesses.’
The company quotes from anti-virus firm Eset’s research report, 'Trends 2016: (In)Security Everywhere' (PDF link) which found that ‘Australia has the third highest detection rates amongst developed countries globally for ransomware in December 2015, overtaking the US,’ and that ‘backup is one effective recovery option for cryptoWall-related attacks.’
Acronis says the data protection survey, which interestingly was ‘conducted by Google on behalf of Acronis,’ focused on Australians’ understanding data protection behaviour. Key findings from the more than 440 individuals include:
- 47% of Australians fear losing photos and videos the most
- The most important data protection features for Australians are ease-of-use, security, and privacy cited by 32% of respondents respectively
- 53% have more than four devices (computers, laptops, smartphones) in their homes
- 48% of Australians ran out of storage space at some point and 45% claimed it happens to them once a year
- Currently, 41% back up to external drives and 31% back up to the cloud
- 62% percent of consumers back up at night and 17% backup while watching TV
Another finding that I’m personally adding to the list is that Google apparently does surveys for companies these days, which comes as a surprise, but with Google’s fingers in so many pies I probably just shouldn’t be that surprised about anything Google does anymore.
That’s not all, however. There’s another emerging trend, and that’s the role of the ‘family data protector,’ the person that takes responsibility for ensuring the family’s data is protected at all times.
Acronis says that with ‘the median household having at least four devices,’ these new ‘family data protectors’ are gaining traction, due to ‘the sheer growth of data captured in mobile pictures and videos, music files, and scanned family documents.’
The family data protector thus ensures the immediate and extended family is prepared for, and protected against, data loss.
John Zanni, Acronis marketing supremo and SVP of Channel and Cloud Strategy said: “Data loss via hardware failure, file deletion, and ransomware are factors most people don’t think about on a daily basis. But when they do occur, the results are devastating.
“Our survey results illustrate a growing general recognition of the value of data stored on family computers and devices, especially given the price people are willing to pay for their data. We hope that this new information, presented on World Backup Day, will encourage even more people to backup their data and protect their personal information.”
Steve Goh, Acronis VP APAC and Emerging Markets said: “We asked Australians what are the main features they expecting from a backup solution and 32% of respondents expect their product to deliver security, adequate storage capacity and be user-friendly.
“There’s no reason for consumers to be intimidated by data protection. It’s an easy and safe method to safeguard your digital memories and important documents and prevent the stress of data loss”.
So, what are three simple steps you can take to improve your data protection?
Acronis says that ‘for anyone, but especially for family data protectors, keeping digital memories and fiduciary documents safe, secure and private, is a responsibility that can be easy and inexpensive to exercise.’
- Always have a backup of a family’s critical data, documents, pictures and videos.
- Keep your operating systems on the most up-to-date version. Those security patches and software updates are important
- Be mindful of suspicious emails or clicking on links sent by unknown sources, it could be a phishing scheme or Ransomware.
Naturally, Acronis also takes the opportunity to put in a timely plug for its flagship product, Acronis True Image, and says that ‘in three clicks and 10 minutes, memories can be safe forever.’
The company has a special World Backup Day page at its site here, with the special offer of a ‘free bonus license with purchase.’ There's also five nifty videos on World Backup Day at the bottom of the page to view, too.
More below, please read on!
Acronis also made available a couple of interesting quotes from its customers.
One is from Eric, a Spiceworks IT community member, who noted that, “Acronis True Image saved my hide just yesterday from crypto. [A user] opened an email attachment at 7:59 AM and the ‘I am seeing something weird’ reports started at 8:08 AM. Since it was so early in the day we just rolled the server and workstation back to midnight and life went on.”
The second is from Robert Moles, an Acronis customer who ‘exemplifies the role of family data protector,’ who said, “I’m the family’s go-to guy to make sure things work. My wife has many hobbies and takes care of important photos for the whole family. And I have lots of videos and important documents. I make sure everything is saved on shared network storage and I use Acronis True Image to do incremental and full backups.”
So… whichever backup solution you use, whether the one that comes free with your operating system, or something paid that offers a whole lot more than just the basics, World Backup Day is a very important reminder to become an expert on backup BEFORE you need it, not after the unthinkable (but sadly very possible) happens!