It’s an oft-repeated warning that we’ve heard time and time again – back up your data, because you just never know if something might go wrong. And there’s nothing more disheartening than finding your files are gone for good.

But while many people take this very good advice to heart, it’s still totally possible to lose data – even with a backup solution in place.

In a new survey from Kroll Ontrack Inc., a data recovery services provider, 65 per cent of the 642 respondents polled had diligently established a backup solution for their data. Fifty-nine per cent were using an external hard drive, 15 per cent had data saved to the cloud, and 10 per cent had a tape backup system. Out of those people, 55 per cent said they were backing up their data on a daily basis.

Nor is the problem of data loss solely limited to consumers. Sixty-four per cent of respondents in the Kroll survey said they had lost business data, while 36 per cent said they had lost personal files.

One common reason for these data losses included using an external hard drive, but only connecting it occasionally, meaning data backup wasn’t an automated process. Another reason for the failure to save data was that respondents hadn’t scheduled a backup, nor configured it to run at a specific time. In some cases, the backup software failed, or the user didn’t realize the backup didn’t have enough destination space to save all of the data. And in the odd case, users lost specific files before the scheduled backup.

Still, out of the 35 per cent of respondents who had lost their data and hadn’t had a backup solution in place, they seemed to have learned a hard lesson. Fifty-three per cent said they were extremely likely to look for a backup solution, while 36 per cent said they were somewhat likely to set one up.

However, for those who were more reluctant to back up their data, 49 per cent said they were hesitating because they didn’t have time to find the right solution. Another 27 per cent said they were worried about the costs.

For organizations bent on ensuring their data is protected, Kroll recommends they set up a backup solution and put it on a schedule, as well as ensuring these backups are following the schedule and running regularly. The company also suggests checking backup reports to make sure they haven’t failed or run into errors, and testing backups to make sure the data has been properly stored away.

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