When it comes to data protection, most people don't have a clue. Many do not take the time to perform regular backups and far more have never even considered doing a backup. In a world where the amount and value of information is constantly increasing, backing up data should be as natural as brushing your teeth twice a day.
We live for about 70 years, or 613,200 hours. If you subtract time spent sleeping, we have 408,800 hours left. If you take into account our first 16 years when we're not very productive, we're left with approximately 315,000 productive hours.
So wasting five or 10 hours recreating files due to data loss can take its toll. Many can empathise with losing digital photos which haven't been backed up. The only way to recover a similar image would be to organise a photographer, restage the scene and retake the photo. This could quickly add up to 15 hours, while recreating a video could take days if not months to complete. It's much faster and easier to get in the habit of backing up data instead of suffering the loss of time rebuilding and recovering lost data.
Grave spectre of data loss
Despite this, there are still businesses which don't take data protection seriously. The situation is similar to skipping regular medical check-ups or failing to visit the dentist – until a person is very sick, they don't think about it. People are reactive and with that comes serious risk. An examination can save or extend your life and backing up data can save businesses and consumers from suffering the grave consequences of data loss.
Large corporations understand the importance of frequent backups. Saving and archiving their data is built into their everyday routine. Medium-sized companies tend to protect the most important portions of their data, while small companies back up almost none of it. It doesn't even cross the minds of most consumers to back up their personal data.
To put it into perspective, imagine what would happen if a bank suddenly lost all its data. It would immediately go bankrupt. The same thing would happen to insurance companies, financial institutions, and any businesses consumers depend on. Even at restaurants, a large amount of information is stored electronically, such as credit card details, credit histories, and table reservations. Losing all that data would cause immense disruptions in business. And what if the data for an aircraft were lost? It would no longer be able to fly.
Don't forget encryption and storage
Large companies understand the risks and constantly make redundant backups and archives. Photographers, artists, musicians and designers are all professionals whose work is closely dependent on storing digital information so backing up their data is automatic. The highest quality data protection techniques don't stop with backups, they also extend to encryption to ensure privacy. As companies or individuals produce more copies of their data, they are inevitably diminishing the level of security by creating more entry points.
Furthermore, professionals backing up offsite may store their data on third-party services and if they rely on tools with little or no encryption, they are providing direct access to anyone on those servers. Nobody wants someone else to know everything about them, but storing private information on the internet or with a service is no different.
We leave ourselves and our information open to coercion by offering the service companies the opportunity to collect it all and (according to the service agreements) own it all. It is important to understand that data protection doesn't stop at a backup, but continues to encryption and managing storage.
It is vital our generation becomes data savvy, to develop a good sense of how to work with data and preserve our privacy through independent backups. Information is arguably our most important asset. While most of the other "valuables" in our lives depreciate and quickly become outdated – gadgets, houses, cars – critical data will never be obsolete. So as you plan for your businesses future, ensure data protection plays a key role in how you work or risk huge losses down the line.
- Serguei Beloussov is CEO of Acronis (opens in new tab)