World Backup Day 2019 which is happening on 31st March is an independent initiative to promote the importance of regular backup of our valuable data. In conjunction with the occasion, Acronis has conducted a worldwide survey regarding the public’s knowledge and habits of data protection.

Why 31st March?

Before we get into the survey results, first of all, why 31st March is chosen as World Backup Day? The answer is simple, don’t be an April Fool when things go south. As Murphy’s Law states – “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Even the consumer’s survey result is showing 65 percent of them had experienced data loss by themselves or their family members.

World Backup Day Survey

Backups are up, but so is data loss

While almost all consumers and businesses backed up their devices this year, significant portions of them still experience lost data.

  • 93 percent of consumers and 97 percent of businesses back up their data at least once a year. Of those, 73 percent of consumers perform backups monthly or weekly and 86 percent of businesses perform backups monthly, weekly, or daily.
  • Despite that backup, 65 percent of consumers (or their immediate family) lost data from a computer or mobile device and 29 percent of businesses suffered a data loss event that led to downtime.

The increased reliant on electronic devices could be the main reason why even users are facing more data lost even if they have been backing up the data.

Half measures don’t provide full protection

Based on the responses, consumers rely on more devices in their daily lives and claim to value the data on these devices, but they aren’t taking sufficient steps to adequately ensure their data is safe. They overwhelmingly store their backups locally, but few use the cloud to keep an off-site copy as required by the best practice 3-2-1 rule of backup.

Interestingly, the vast majority of businesses aren’t following the 3-2-1 rule either, but for a different reason. They almost exclusively rely on cloud backups without keeping a local copy for fast, convenient recoveries.

  • 45 percent of consumers have more than four devices at home
  • 70 percent of consumers would pay between $50 and $500 to recover their lost information
  • 90 percent of consumers and 73 percent of businesses don’t back up to a hybrid of local and cloud storage destinations.

While those findings are surprising given how attached respondents are to their data, it makes sense when paired with two key findings from the survey: what respondents find important in a backup solution and how well respondents understand the threats their most important data faces.

I believe businesses do understand the core value behind backing up their business-critical data. Hence cloud backup was chosen for its accessibility and convenience, as opposed to the speed of backing up/retrieval of the local backup.

Consumers contradictory value of backup

To understand what personal users and professionals most value in a backup, we asked respondents which of the five vectors of cyber protection, safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security, was most important to their goals.

The majority of consumers ranked “accessibility” (rapid access to backups that’s affordable and easy-to-use) as their top priority in a backup solution. They also showed unfortunately low awareness of some of the most looming cyber threats in the world today:

  • 46 percent of consumers don’t know what ransomware is
  • 53 percent of consumers don’t know what cryptojacking is
  • 53 percent of consumers don’t know what social engineering attacks are

Between this lack of education and consumers desire for convenience, affordability, and ease-of-use above all other features, it makes perfect sense that they would opt for a purely local backup plan, more often than not to an external drive or USB. That said, consumers may not understand how simple and accessible backing up to the cloud can be.

Businesses back up for safety and security

Alternately, businesses ranked “safety” (reliable backups that keep all data complete and recovery-ready) as their most important backup feature, a decision which makes sense given the many high profile data breaches and ransomware attacks in recent years. Businesses have clearly taken these events, and their inherent costs, to heart:

  • 61 percent of businesses are concerned or highly concerned about ransomware
  • 60 percent of businesses are concerned or highly concerned about cryptojacking
  • 61 percent of businesses are concerned or highly concerned about social engineering attacks

With defence against these cyber threats a clear focus for businesses, the extra attention to protection and governance offered by cloud services is undoubtedly a key motivator. However, businesses that exclusively rely on cloud backups may discover that even the most sophisticated cloud storage can’t offer the speed, reliability, and peace of mind that comes from hybrid backup procedures.

Cyber protection recommendations for World Backup Day

Whether you are concerned about personal files or securing your company’s business continuity, Acronis has four simple recommendations to help protect your data:

  • Always create backups of important data. Keep copies of the backup both locally (so it’s available for fast, frequent recoveries) and in the cloud (to guarantee you have everything if a fire, flood or disaster hits your facilities).
  • Ensure your operating system and software are current. Older versions of your OS and apps lack the bug fixes and security patches that help block cybercriminals from gaining access to your systems.
  • Beware suspicious email, links, and attachments. Most virus and ransomware infections are the results of social engineering techniques that trick unsuspecting individuals into opening infected email attachments or clicking on links to websites that host malware.
  • Install anti-virus software and enable automatic updates so your system is protected against common, well-known malware strains. Windows user should confirm that their Windows Defender is turned on and up-to-date.

Final thought

Acronis’ 2019 World Backup Day Survey provides an interesting insight into the mindset and habits that consumers and business users from around the world have regarding data protection and the latest threats. Clearly, both groups are aware of the need for backups, but there are gaps in how to best protect their data or where the latest threats to their data may come from. Continuous education seems to be an important consideration to improve data protection.


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