Meanwhile, I want to report some shocking statistics about backups. Maybe they shouldn’t shock me, because they’re not so different from last year’s statistics, but my jaw still drops when I read these things.
Hard-drive manufacturer Maxtor (the creaters of Backup Awareness Month) sponsored a survey by Harris Interactive. The results: 46% of the respondents don’t make backups, even though 43% of them have lost data to viruses, system crashes, and drive failures, and 55% consider their data worth at least $1000.
I haven’t seen the survey, so I don’t know whether the people who don’t back up are also the people who value their data highly and/or the people who have lost data before, but the E-commerce Times article I read certainly implies it.
It doesn’t surprise me that much that average computer users don’t back up. If everyone backed up regularly, I wouldn’t have started writing these reminders. What shocks me is that people who have lost data still don’t back up.
Iron Mountain, which recently purchased LiveVault, conducted a survey of laptop users. An astonishing 64% of laptop owners whose machines have been stolen still don’t make daily backups. If you’re carrying all your data around with you, daily is probably better than weekly, because the machine could get dropped or spilled on as easily as stolen.
And the effect of data loss on these laptop users? Eighteen percent of them didn’t get back up and running for weeks or months. Another 64% were out of action for several days. That’s money down the drain for anyone in business, particularly if your laptop is your main machine.
Storage vendors are finding disk-based backup systems, virtual tape libraries, and continuous data protection a hard sell when it comes to small and medium businesses. In addition to the usual resistance to change, there’s the cost of replacing existing tape systems, and/or the monthly fees for CDP and other online backup systems.
Yet expense can’t be the only issue for consumers and home-office users. There are more online backup providers every day. They offer “set it and forget it” solutions for $10/month—or less. External hard drives cost very little per gigabyte, and many come with backup software to automate the process. Somehow, stubbornly, people persist in not backing up.
Naturally, storage vendors and data protection companies have a vested interest in getting more people to back up, so they’re working hard to raise awareness and educate people about what constitutes a real backup. (An extra copy of a file on the same disk as the original is not a real backup.) They’re also trying to make backup simpler to use, so that even technophobes have no excuse. Yet there doesn’t seem to be much impact so far: Maxtor’s 2004 backup survey statistics were almost exactly the same as those for 2005.
I try to educate people about their options for backup, but all I can really do is remind people who are already making backups that it’s time for another one. If losing data isn’t enough to convince a person to back up, nothing I can say is going to make a difference.
I would like to know, though: if you don’t back up, what’s your excuse? What excuses have you heard your colleagues, clients, friends, or family make for not backing up their computers? I’m willing to bet there’s a counter for all of them, but it’s just barely possible that somewhere in the universe someone actually has a valid excuse for not backing up.