It’s World Backup Day: a reminder to be careful with your precious data

Cue alarming statistics about data loss…

Today is World Backup Day, which serves as a handy reminder to us all that backing up your files is an absolute necessity, because you never know when disaster can strike – and the ensuing loss of data can be very painful if you’re not prepared.

The official slogan of the campaign – which is an independent initiative that started out on Reddit – is: “Don’t be an April fool. Be prepared. Back up your files on March 31.”

The website for the initiative highlights some key backup-related statistics, including the fact that 30% of people have never backed up, and one in 10 PCs are infected with a virus every month (potentially causing data loss).

Storage vendor Verbatim has some of its own statistics, and found that in a survey which questioned folks about how often they back up their home PC, 18% had never done so – and 7% said they didn’t know how to. The largest majority, 39%, said they backed up ‘whenever I remember’, which probably isn’t very often.

Only 18% performed monthly backups, 9% did weekly backups, and 4% backed up daily.

As for the most prevalent reason people fail to duplicate their data – 25% admitted that they were simply ‘too lazy’ to perform regular backups.

Hardware hazards

Verbatim’s statistics also explored the reasons why data loss happens, with the most popular cause being hardware failure at 52% of all incidents. 13% of data loss incidents were caused by software corruption, 7% by accidental damage, and 3% by malware.

As Verbatim notes, it’s a sensible idea to create at least two backup copies of your original data, one of which can be stored locally (say on an external drive), but the other should be stored off-site (for example in the cloud) just in case of a really terrible disaster like a fire which hits your home or office.

Of course, here at TechRadar, we’ve also got plenty of advice on keeping on top of backups – such as our roundup of 10 essential tools for backing up and protecting your PC.

Don’t want to pay to back up your PC? Then check out our feature on the best free backup software of 2017. And if you’re heading cloud-wards, here’s our piece on the 10 best online backup services.

PCs aside, we also discuss how to back up your iPhone and iPad, and we have the same advice for Android devices.

However you back up, just make sure you do it – and on a regular schedule, not just as and when you feel like it.