For those who didn't know, March 31 is World Backup Day, created to remind people to backup and protect their personal data.
Personal data has grown one million times in the past 25 years and most computer users agree that the data held on a device is far more valuable than the device itself.
Yet, according to a US survey conducted by Acronis, more than 50 per cent of consumers fail to backup their data at all, while only one-third protect their entire computer system as opposed to some selected files.
"These numbers are worrying because the ramifications of losing data can be far more devastating and wide-reaching than simply losing a device," says Lincoln Goldsmith, General Manager A/NZ, Acronis.
"Theft is not the only concern; there are plenty of other ways to lose your data and once it’s gone, it’s gone, unless it’s backed up."
For Goldsmith, there are a number of ways to lose data, including: hardware failure; user error; device loss or theft; natural disaster; accidents; software errors; and problems from upgrading or updating software.
"It’s important to remember that 100 per cent of hard drives will fail eventually, which puts data at risk," he adds.
"Any backup is better than no backup at all but it is easy and inexpensive to safeguard your digital data."
As a result, Acronis has identified three key elements to effective backups, known as the ‘3-2-1 backup rule’ - meaning that people should have three copies of everything they care about, in two different formats, and one copy offsite:
Step 1: This can be as simple as backing up to an external hard drive.
Step 2: Use a different format such as cloud backup software, which can automatically backup all data to the cloud. It’s automated, so you don’t even have to do anything.
Step 3: Store a backup copy in a secure, offsite location. This is where using the cloud is beneficial because it can join steps two and three together.
"There are easy and inexpensive ways to safeguard the digital data that people don’t want to lose, like photographs and videos," Goldsmith adds.
"World Backup Day serves as a great reminder to protect your data but there’s no need to wait until then. Consider setting up automatic backups or reminders for your computer, smartphone and tablet.
"Regular backups will give you peace of mind and ensure that, if your device is lost or your hard drive crashes, then you can still retrieve your data."