Today more so than ever, the computer is becoming an integral part of our lives. Most of us use it on a daily basis, storing large amounts of data, such as:

  • Important work and personal documents.
  • Family and holiday photos.
  • Entire music collections.
  • All of our contacts details.

For most of us, we cannot afford to lose all that digitally stored data we have accumulated over the years. Therefore we need to have a backup system in place to ensure that those precious data will not be lost forever.

hard disk drive

Unfortunately, backups are something that very few people do. Most person do not think they need it until disaster strikes, which at that point is too late. It is something that most people won’t think about or put off setting up because they tell themselves they do not need it. That their data is safe. They fall into the old paradigm that “it will never happen to me”.

If only they knew how a hard disk drive operate, they might re-consider having a backup system in place. I won’t go into much details of workings of a hard disk drive. (Wikipedia provides a very good explanation of  this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive.) Basically the hard disk drive has a bunch of circular disks for storing data (called platters) which are spinning at very high speed and there is a very small head which is reading or writing the data from or to the disk. Also with today’s high density drives, more data are being stored in smaller places. There is a potential for a lot to go wrong.

According to statistics from protect-data.com the leading cause of data loss are as follows:

chart-causes-of-data-loss

3% – Natural Disasters such as lighting strikes, fires, floods.

7% – Computer viruses.

14% – Software corruption.

32% – Human error.

44% – Hardware or System malfunction (e.g: hard drive crash).

As you can see, most of the causes of data loss are due to hardware failures or human error!

Data loss due to human error are usually in the form of accidentally deleting an important file.

If after reading all that, you’re still don’t think backups are important, then here are the 5 reasons why you should be backing up your data.

1) Your Data is Precious.

Everything is all stored electronically such as family videos and photos, entire music collections, email conversations, address book, personal finance and tax information. Most of these stuff cannot be replaced!

2) Your Computer is Online.

Most computers these days are connected to the internet. While all computers should have some form of firewall and anti-virus software, they only reduce the risk of having your computer infected with a virus attack or malicious software. Your computer is still vulnerable!

3) You Might Make Mistakes.

You are only human and might accidentally delete some important data. Or save and override something important which you did not intend to. Having backups will enable you to retrieve previous versions of your data.

4) Your Computer Does Not Last Forever.

Just like an old car will eventually break down, a computer will not run forever and will eventually fail. That is when you start having operating system failures and hard disk drive crashes. The average life expectancy of a hard disk drive varies between make and model, but 5 years is usually the norm.

5) It Can Happen To You!

Data loss can happen to anyone! So don’t let it catch you unprepared!

This is the first post in a mini-series of posts on backups. In the next few posts, we will look other topics on backups, such as:

  • Things to consider when selecting a backup system.
  • Common mistakes people make when setting up a backup system.
  • List of available backup software for Windows, Macs and Linux.

And many other topics.

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Edwin Kwan is the founder and editor of Little Handy Tips and Wollongong Fitness. He is also the developer for the Google Custom Search WordPress plugin and Custom About Author WordPress plugin. He also has a keen interest in Photography . Find out more about him here.

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