When it comes to Data Protection, most people don’t have a clue. Many do not take the time to perform regular backups (reserve copies of data) and far more have never even considered doing a backup. For me, this is very strange, silly even. Doing backups should be as natural as brushing your teeth twice a day. Especially in a world where the amount of information is constantly increasing, and its value is increasing further and further.
Consider this, we don't have much time on Earth. On average, a human lives 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 5 or 10 hours (redoing a large presentation, for example) due to data loss can take its toll. Consider losing an important photograph. The only way to recover a similar photo would be to organize a photographer, restage the scene, and retake the photo. This could quickly add up to 15 hours and a video could demand days if not months. It's must faster and easier to get in the habit of backing up data instead of suffering the loss of time rebuilding and recovering lost data.
But most people don't take backups seriously. The situation is similar to skipping regular medical check-ups or going to the dentist—until a person is very sick, they don't think much about it. People are reactive, and that can be pretty risky. An examination can save or extend your life.
Backing up information is gradually becoming more and more critical, as data plays a larger and larger role in our lives. Large corporations get this. They're always saving and archiving their data, over and over. Medium-sized companies tend to protect portions of their data, small companies back up almost none of it, and it doesn’t even cross the minds of most individuals to back up their personal data.
To put it into perspective, imagine what would happen if, say, a bank were to suddenly lose all its data. It would immediately go bankrupt. The same thing would happen to insurance companies, financial institutions, and all sorts of other companies. 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!
Large companies understand the risks and constantly make redundant backups and archives. Photographers, artists, musicians, and designers, all professionals whose work is closely dependent on storing digital information also strive to back up. But proper data protection doesn’t stop with backups, it also extends 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, people backing up off-site 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 its storage.
It is key for our generation to become data savvy, to develop a good sense of how to work with data and preserve our privacy through independent backups. Information is easily becoming our most important asset. And while most of the other "valuables" in our lives depreciate and quickly become obsolete — gadgets, houses, cars — critical data never goes obsolete. So as you consider your steps in saving for your future, consider also how to properly protect your data and backup for your future.
Serguei Beloussov is the CEO of Acronis