Majority of Consumers Lack Personal Data Backup: Survey

By Nathan Eddy

Acronis, a provider of backup, recovery and security solutions for physical, virtual and cloud environments, released research that suggests consumers are generally aware of the need for backup and recovery, even if they are not carrying it out regularly enough. Eighty-three percent of consumers surveyed stated that they understand the need to back up, indicating that awareness of the technology is increasing and is catching up with other more established consumer technologies such as antivirus software.

However, despite the awareness of the technology, the survey indicated much of the data on PCs and laptops is not being protected. Almost one-third (29 percent) of consumers do not back up the files, photos and music on their machines at all, while one-quarter (25 percent) state that they only back up when they remember. In fact, only 15 percent back up on a regular basis (once a week or more), according to survey results.

The research revealed that people are well educated about backup and recovery, with only a small minority of consumers stating that they do not back up because they do not think that their data is at risk or because they are ignorant about the subject matter. The report suggested apathy is the main barrier, with almost half of consumers (48 percent) stating that they know they should back up but they do not do it or do not do it correctly.

While consumer attitudes to backup and recovery may be complacent, the survey indicated that people do fear the prospect of losing all their data and the consequences of not backing up. For instance, 62 percent of consumers fear the prospect of their PC or laptop crashing, losing their machine or it being stolen, as opposed to just under one-third of consumers who fear virus attack (31 percent).

"It is encouraging to see that more and more people are becoming aware about backup and recovery," David Blackman, general manager, Northern Europe at Acronis, explained. "However, consumer backup practices are still sloppy and many of us are putting months’ worth of data at risk. While awareness of backup is creeping up behind antivirus, we’re still not at the stage that security products are at. What is needed is backup software similar to antivirus solutions, which is easy to use and backs up data without the consumer even having to think about it."

A summary of the Acronis research methods noted the company surveyed 440 consumers both face-to-face and online in August. Respondents were questioned in France, Germany, UK, APAC, Sweden and Spain. Forty-six percent were female and 54 percent were male.

This article was originally published on 2010-12-10