Poll Shows Backup Frequency Increasing, Results Still Depressing
For the last 12 years, Backblaze has commissioned a Harris poll that asks people the simple question, “How often do you back up all the data on your computer?” The good news is that the percentage of respondents who say they never back up has dropped to an all-time low. The bad news is that it’s still 19%—nearly 1 in 5 people have no backups at all. Another 39% of people back up only once per year or less, and while that’s better than nothing, it’s not a lot better. Only 10% of the survey’s participants said they back up daily, 12% weekly, and 20% monthly. Backblaze’s numbers aren’t broken out by platform; I would hope that Mac users are more likely to back up and to do so more frequently thanks to the inclusion of Time Machine in macOS. Remember, when it comes to losing data, the question is not if, but when.
Thanks to TidBITS and a previous Joe Kissell book on backups I rotate two 4GB partitioned drives: 2GB for Carbon Copy Cloner full bootable backup each morning at 3:00 a.m. and the other 2GB partition backs up continuously using TimeMachine. These are swapped with one offsite every 8 days. (Simply because I got tired of every week.) My further hole card is the entire 1.45TB is backed up with Backblaze. I only had to lose everything once to become a backup believer. At any point in time I have three complete backups.
When I think of all the family history that goes up in smoke when a hard drive fails it’s really sad. People have thousands of photos, videos, emails on their computers that document their existence. Without a backup that all disappears. Even if there is no failure it can somehow become corrupt. Text messages are even more vulnerable. Ever since the beginning of the digital age historians have worried about how these things will be preserved. Ken Burn’s Civil War series used letters from soldiers to their families to bring home the personal experience of that conflict. Those letters were kept in boxes in attics for a century before they were rediscovered.
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