Personal data is more valuable to consumers than the digital devices they use to store and access it, according to a survey of 350 U.S. consumers conducted by data protection specialist Acronis.
In fact, the survey results show that consumers would be nearly three times more upset if they lost their photos than if they lost their phone, computer or tablet.
Yet the survey also suggests that most consumers are putting little effort into ensuring their data is safe.
“Users feel a false sense of security. Some consumers never think that something catastrophic will happen to their devices, and this incorrect mindset is what holds them from being proactive about data protection," Nat Maple, senior vice president and general manager of global consumer and SOHO, OEM and online for Acronis, told eWEEK. "It’s only after they experience a hardware failure or lose their device that they realize the importance of backing up their data. It’s not a question of if you will experience a data loss, but rather when it will happen."
Less than half of the respondents save their data to an external device or the cloud, which means more than 50 percent of consumers store their data only on their computer – or not at all.
Of those using a data backup system, only one-third are protecting their entire computer system. The other two-thirds of users are simply protecting some files.
"First off, consumers should be running a full-system image backup – versus file backup, which allows them to protect their entire digital life including their computer’s system, preferences and settings besides solely video, music, images or financial records," Maple said. "They should also keep in mind a solution that offers dual protection, locally and to the cloud, so that their entire system can easily be recovered through online backup even if anything should happen to their machine or the place they’re stored."
Nearly half of the respondents value their data at more than $1,000, proving that they certainly hold their information to a high standard.
While only five percent of consumers surveyed are willing to actually spend that amount to recover their data once it is lost, an overwhelming 94 percent of respondents expressed that they are willing to spend up to $100 dollars to preventively backup their data.
"Consumers are starting to store their important information across numerous devices, from computers to mobile devices to tablets and now even on watches," Maple said. "These personal technologies are only expected to continue evolving in the near future, and it’s going to need to be each person’s responsibility to keep track of what information is stored on which device, and to make backup a priority for each individual device."