Computer says ‘No’

According to various studies, 6% of computer users lose some of their data in any given year. That’s one out of every seventeen computers. Which seems fine . . . until that one computer is your computer.

But there’s one more statistic that works against the average computer user. Nearly half of them never make backups. Never.

Common ways you are at risk of losing your essential electronic data include;

  • Hardware failure
  • Virus’s
  • Theft
  • Operator error
  • Natural disasters
  • Fire

Individuals and businesses are seeing the amount of data they store increase at a rate of approximately 80% per year1.

So each year that you don’t have backup of your data, the potential severity of the loss increases dramatically. At its worst, critical data loss can result in business collapse.

Studies by the National Archives and Records Administration showed that 80% of companies without well-conceived data protection and recovery strategies go out of business within two years of a major disaster.

We saw this most recently with the collapse of Melbourne based hosting provider, Distribute IT, when it lost all of it’s stored client data including nearly 5000 client’s websites and email due to a malicious attack.

Here are 4 of my tips for keeping your data safe and secure

1. Be pro-active, not re-active

In some cases after a hard drive crash it may be possible to restore some or all of the lost data. But it’s not easy, it’s not cheap, and it’s not guaranteed. You’re far better off having a backup system. That way, instead losing all of your photos, music, videos, and files, you only lose a hard drive. And that’s something that’s much easier to replace

2. Take regular backups of your personal computer

  • Time machine is an amazing application for Apple Mac’s which automates the backup process of your computer to an external hard drive.
  • Windows 7 features newly improved Backup and Restore which operates in a similar manner to Time Machine

3. Store backups remotely

This means not only on a remote device external to your computers hard drive but stored in a different geographic location. A burglar in your home will be more than happy to grab your laptop and your external hard drive from the top drawer. As will a fire not distinguish between primary and backup hard drives stored in your home or office.

4. Have an offline copy of your website

This is one thing a lot of people forget about. If you don’t know how to download your website using FTP, you can contact your web developer or see for more info on doing this yourself.

If you never have to restore data from backup then cheers to that. However needing to restore data you don’t have is a position you never want to find yourself in. I say this as a close friend is spending the day tomorrow re-entering accounting data for the past 6 months due to his laptop being stolen a week ago. Perhaps I should send him this blog? That would be cruel wouldn’t it?

1. Conservative estimates from IDC in October, 2002