Insurance for your data, why is it so often overlooked?

A hard drive surrounded by flames ©Depositphotos/Klanneke
©Depositphotos/Klanneke

Data is in our lives, our smartphones, our computers, our internet services and just about anywhere and everywhere you can imagine. Yet something a lot of people do not consider is an “insurance policy” for their data. Before I continue, take a moment to note down your current thoughts on computer backups. After you have read this article, have a look back and see if your views have changed. If they have (or haven’t), leave comment and let us know.

People buy insurance for their car to cover if someone crashes into them, they buy insurance for their house in case they are burgled or something else untoward happens. Yet one thing that so many people neglect to do is invest in insurance for their data.

Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What data might you lose if your laptop or computer at home was stolen or your computer suddenly failed irrecoverably? Think photos, financial records, emails, contact information, work, data from your studies, the list really does go on.
  2. How would you feel if you accidentally deleted the folder with the photos of your children since their birth, or from your overseas holiday?
  3. What would you stand to lose if GMail, Yahoo mail or Windows Live mail service suddenly shut down or suffered irrecoverable data loss?

 

I ask these three questions because they cover three common scenarios of how someone might lose data including loss and corruption, human error, or cloud service disruption. I have always said, data loss isn’t a matter of IF, it is a matter of when.

Data loss can happen because of any one of a number of reasons including (but not limited to):

  • Hard drive failure
  • Loss of computer due to malicious causes (such as computer being stolen)
  • Human error (accidentally deleting files)
  • Virus or other malicious software
  • Power failure causing data corruption
  • Natural disasters such as lightening (power spikes), flooding, extreme heat and so on

 

So with all these factors in consideration, why are data insurance and home backups still overlooked and seen as an optional extra rather than a critical necessity. Businesses put backups in place often due to legal requirements as strict minimum, as Well as the fact that is just good practice, however no such legal requirements exist for the home user.

With services such as Backupify.com who can backup an increasing number of cloud data services, and Crashplan.com which covers the data on your local computer, insuring your data has never been easier or cheaper (you can check out my review of Crashpan Family Unlimited for the full rundown there). For those that wish to look for a one off payment solution even something as simple as an external hard drive at home is still better than nothing to ensure you have at least some of the bases covered. For the cost of a couple of coffees a month you can backup your online and offline life and start protecting all the data you have ever put together.

I can say that in my life I have suffered four major data loss events at home, three were due to hardware failure and one due to human error. It wasn’t until the last event of human error that I had a huge hole in my data backup regimes. Covering against myself deleting a file and then not realising until six months later. Having a backup strategy and testing the backup strategy is one of the best things you can do and at some point you will be thanking yourself for taking the time and and a small amount of effort to invest in insurance for YOUR data.

So, now to discuss… Do you back up your data? If you don’t backup, what is it that stops you, is it because it is too hard, lack of knowledge about how to back up, or is it that it is too expensive? I ask in the hope that I can write up some articles on how to overcome these obstacles. If I can convince one person that reads this article to put in a backup strategy, I know I have helped that one person immensely, and that I have saved at least one person future pain and frustration.
Stuart

P.S. For the record even as little as a week ago I experienced data loss on a personal server I house in the United States… as I said, not a matter of IF just a matter of WHEN… you will be happy to know that yes, I had backups so we are all good 😀