Data backups are critical in this day and age where so many of the things that are important to us only exist digitally on our computers and smart phones. Most people take hundreds of pictures on their phones without ever synchronizing them to their computer. And if their phone is lost, so are all of those memories. If your computers hard drive fails or your laptop is stolen at the airport then all of your documents, pictures, videos, and music can be lost forever.
But all these dangers are completely avoidable by making regular backups a part of your routine. Pay the mortgage, check. Get an oil change, check. Backup phone and computer, check! Whether you use an external hard drive or a cloud based service, turning data backups into a habit is easy.
World Backup Day was started by a group of people on Reddit in March of 2011 in an attempt to raise awareness about data preservation and the importance of regular backups. Founder Ismail Jadun, a college student at the time, has kept the initiative going with sponsorship by cloud storage companies that help pay the bills.
It’s a worthwhile project because the statistics are frightening. According to multiple studies only 25% of people back up their data and 30% of people have never made a backup. The numbers are similar in the business world as well. A 2013 study showed that more than 53% of small businesses don’t regularly back up their data and other studies show that businesses that lose data report lost revenues, employee layoffs, and even business closure. A 2014 study showed that less than half of businesses surveyed had performed a backup in the last week and 15% hadn’t backed up in over a month.
World Backup Day happens every March 31st but the real aim of the project is to make every day backup day. We couldn’t agree more. As it says on their website:
“We’re aiming to reach those who have never backed up in their life, and might not even know what backup is!
However, we also like to say that World Backup Day is every day! A good backup plan will be continuous and include multiple layers to not only recover your data but also include steps for data preservation.”
People that use their computers every day are creating, editing, and deleting files. Most of the changes made are intentional but accidents happen. In fact 29% of all data loss is accidental. People delete their own and other peoples files all the time.
There are many different ways that you can back up your data. You can buy an external drive for less than $100 that will hold more data than most people will need. You can buy two of them and keep one at work or at a friends house for offsite storage. You can buy a RAID drive enclosure that has two drives that are mirror images of each other so that if one goes bad the data is safe while you replace the failed drive. You can even make backups to writable DVD discs. Finally you can use an online cloud based service for as little as $60 a year.
Business owners will want to adopt the practices of large corporations just on a smaller scale. Large companies make daily, weekly, and monthly backups of their active systems. And when a system is retired they make archival backups. And through various systems they have backups of their backups. They also keep backups stored offsite for disaster recovery purposes. However the same thing can be accomplished for small businesses with far less expense and infrastructure. Have a meeting with your IT person or people and workout a plan that fits your budget.
Now that you’re taking care of yourself, spread the word. Talk to your friends and family members and send them articles like this one. Or if you can spare the time, sit down with them and help them back up their data. Show them how you do it and how easy it is for them to do the same. Talk to your boss or your company’s IT person and find out what backup plan they have now and make suggestions for improving it. Your boss will thank you and you’ll look proactive, and bosses love proactive employees!
World Backup day is an important and worthwhile initiative that with enough support can help improve the data security of people all over the world. Bringing attention to it is the least I can do to help. When it comes to actually backing up your data, there is way more information than I can fit into one section of this article and I’ll soon be writing some step by step guides for how to make backups for both residential and business customers. Until then, spread the word and go make a backup today!