Kingston's 1TB USB THUMBDRIVE

A recent study by Protective Intelligence has found the UK computer users backup their data less than once a year, and many never at all.

The worrying news comes out of a new One Poll survey commissioned by Protective Intelligence, a global IT Security and Protection business.

When 2000 UK-wide respondents were asked how often they backed up their laptops or desktop computers, nearly a quarter (24.8 per cent) of laptop users and a fifth (18.5 per cent) of desktop computer users across the UK said they never back up – the highest score for all back up period survey options across all ages, gender, and geographical regions.

The over 55s are the worst at backing up with 30.77% never back up their laptops and 31.18% never back up their desktop computers. This is most likely an educational issue. These are typically the people least familiar with computers, and less likely to have vital information on them that would be required if the device was lost or suffered a storage failure.

Best Practice

The ideal backup solution is to use a suitable USB thumbdrive, an external hard drive, or a cloud backup service such as Dropbox.

Copy the files over from your computer to the external device regularly – weekly at a minimum! The advantage of the Dropbox service, is that it synchronises files automatically for you. This removes the burden of you having to remember. You do need to be online for the backup to work though, so its not great if you are without an internet connection or have a low data limit.

Test your backups

Backups are great, but no good if they don’t work. Test your backup process regularly, attempt to ‘recover’ a copy of a file from your external device or cloud service once a month. It’s no good if it doesn’t work when you need it for real.

In the survey above, people cited losing photos of their children growing up or deceased relatives, books/novels they have written, finished dissertations, PHD theses and critical financial or work documents. A lot of these are invaluable, would require significant work to replace/recreate, or in the case of treasured family photos, may be completely irreplaceable.

What backup process do you use, and do you regularly test it?

Written By: Rob Gordon

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk