With most of us working or studying from home, storage of important personal and business data has become extremely important.
By Jaganathan Chelliah
We live in a Zettabyte age. We interact with more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, including images, high definition 4K videos, documents and applications, on an average every day. This data is primarily created, bundled, shared and stored in PCs and smartphones and tablets. Whether a half-done report from work or old family photographs, data is valuable. Especially now, with most of us working or studying from home, storage of important personal and business data has become extremely important.
Irrespective of a personal or professional situation, it is common for people to store data on PC as a presumed ‘backup’. Mobile users, too, usually plug in USB cables and transfer mobile content to PC as a form of backup.
Data loss can happen to anyone. The reasons can be many, including computer viruses, trojans and system failure, as well as smartphone theft, ransomware attacks or even the smartphone getting bricked or destroyed and coffee spilling inadvertently on your laptop. In the event of such an incident, you end up losing data – all because the data was not reliably backed up.
More than 1 out of 4 PC users have lost their data, primarily due to virus attacks and system crashes, reveals a study by Western Digital and Kantar-IMRB which surveyed consumers in India. In fact, that study showed that of those who are using PCs as a primary device, about 1 in 4 users have been found to back up their data only partially, while approximately 1 in 5 users do not back up their data at all.
So, why are people not backing up their data?
One factor that can be attributed to such consumer habits is the presence of optimism bias among people. It is the common belief that one is less likely to experience a negative event (and, inversely, more likely in case of a positive event) compared to others. This can lead consumers to underestimate the high possibility of data loss.
Notwithstanding the optimism bias among consumers, let’s discuss some of the other reasons that deter people from backing up their data, according to the same study:
- Data confidentiality issues: Around 45% of the surveyed respondents who don’t back up their data believe that their data is more secure in a PC. In addition, 24% of the same users feel physical copies of important documents can be kept as a data backup instead of using an external storage device. This reflects low consumer awareness around data encryption capabilities available in portable storage devices.
- Time and effort required for backing up data: Around 42% of the surveyed respondents who don’t backup their data find it to be a tedious and time-consuming process. Issues related to data recovery, data transfer and portability have been cited as additional concerns by many of the respondents.
- Lack of awareness on personal storage solutions: Nearly a third have never utilized personal data backup solutions, such as an external HDD or SSD.
Data Backup Options: Which one should you pick?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to data backups. Traditionally, consumers have relied on USBs and external drives. However, with consumers generating more data than ever, data storage needs are evolving. It is a good idea to have multiple backup options, depending on the type and relative importance of the data to be stored.
According to the Western Digital and Kantar-IMRB study, around 1 in 3 of those who back up their PC content prefer to use HDDs as the key device for backup, indicating that a significant number of Indian users prefer physical storage devices. Whether removable storage such as a microSD memory card, SD card; high-capacity USB drive; or portable storage – HDDs and SSDs, there are plenty of options to choose from. The choice, of course, depends on the type of content, capacity, security and performance requirements etc.
Portable storage is the go-to option for those seeking to store a large volume of content, such as photographs, videos, full-length movies and documents, with long-term accessibility. In fact, the humble storage device has come a long way to evolve into intelligent storage, owing to software integration for ease of use and security. Smart storage solutions not just deliver plug-and-play storage, but also feature intuitive capabilities, such as auto-backup for ease of convenience, and encryption for data security.
Personal Data Storage: The future is now
The Indian consumer is slowly realising the importance of data and is exploring attractive options to preserve their content. With an increasing amount of data being fed into the digital medium, our digital life is likely to grow more vulnerable to contingencies. Data management and backup will play a more important role than ever in ensuring data security during such calamities. This indicates an open opportunity in driving innovation in data storage capabilities.
The author is director, marketing of Western Digital India