World Backup Day 2017: 'We Don't Know the Day Nor the Hour'

Take a few minutes on this day, check and see if all the photos in your smartphone are being backed up to a cloud service such as Google, Dropbox or iCloud. Oh, and back up important docs, too.

WorldBackupDay2017

Here's a universally good piece of advice from Matthew 25:13: "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."

In the context of the Bible, that line refers to the end of the world. But when it comes to backing up personal and business data, we also do not know the day nor the hour when a server or PC is going to suddenly seize up and die.

And it could indeed be the end of the world for some people if they were to lose valuable personal photos and/or other documents in such a catastrophe.

This is what March 31, World Backup Day, is all about. Take a few minutes on this Friday, check and see if all the photos in your smartphone are being backed up to a cloud service such as Google, Dropbox or iCloud. It costs little or nothing to do this. Make sure your PC documents folder is backed up somewhere, whether to a separate desktop storage device or to another cloud service. Doing this automatically is optimal. Even putting content onto a thumbdrive at the end of the day can be helpful.

Nobody wants to be the person who turns on his/her laptop and sees the Blue Screen of Death, indicating that, um, you're not going to be working on this machine today, no matter how important the data inside is to you.

Plenty of Storage Options Available

Many devices and services can be used as backup locations. Keep in mind that only one copy of backup may not be enough. You can keep multiple backups to the following locations:

--internal storage: HDD, SSD, SSHD
--external storage: External hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card
--network storage: NAS devices, network shared folder
--online storage: Cloud services, as described above

Many people do not own scanners to store physical images. A good way to scan and store them can be found at ScanMyPhotos.com, which will scan and store online photos, slides, negative and videos and has been doing it since 1990.

Comments from the Pros

eWEEK checked around the IT storage community and obtained some interesting metrics and sage advice for all of us who use PCs.

From a recent Acronis Software survey, completed in late 2016 and encompassing PC users in the U.S, U.K., Australia, Germany, France and Japan, and which cited ransomware as the most threatening trend involving data loss:

--34 percent of respondents said that they, or their family members, have experienced data loss.
--26 percent of respondents acknowledged they don't perform any type of data backup
--62 percent of respondents said they have never heard of ransomware
--While more than 67 percent placed great importance on their personal information, documents, pictures, videos, and music, only 5.8 percent realized that it can cost more than $500 to recover their data after a ransomware attack

Bipul Sinha, Founder and CEO, Rubrik:

"Data is the lifeblood of any business. To be relevant in a data- and analytics-driven world, companies need their data instantly accessible, anywhere.  Thus, backup and data management solutions need to free data from the infrastructure and integrate with the cloud."

Bill Wohl, Chief Communications Officer, Commvault:

"World Backup Day is a reminder of the importance of implementing a truly holistic data management strategy, one that ensures all data is backed up wherever it exists (including the cloud, virtual machines, mobile devices, and on any infrastructure). Such a strategy can not only mitigate business risk and improve IT outcomes, it can assure companies can activate their data to derive value and strategic insights that increase business agility and provide a competitive advantage."

Schneider Electric:

"With World Backup Day, we are reminded just how crucial it is to ensure all of our devices receive the power backup and protection they need - something that is often overlooked until it is too late.

"Imagine you're putting the finishing touches on an important presentation or completing the final level of the newest video game -- when all of a sudden, the power goes out. Outages happen, but according to a recent data, 30 percent of people have never backed up their personal device, increasing their risk of permanently losing their critical information and treasured memories.

"In today's on-demand world, consistent power is expected and consumers have zero tolerance for power disturbances that inconvenience their daily lives.

"By making sure power backup solutions are in place, consumers are able to prevent loss of important data and thwart any disturbance to the daily routine, especially during crunch time.

Chuck Dubuque, Vice-President of Product Marketing, Tintri:

"Data loss and disruption happens far too often in the enterprise. Research by Ponemon in 2016 estimates the average cost of an unplanned outage has spiralled to nearly $9,000 a minute, causing crippling downtime as well as financial and reputational damage. Legacy backups simply aren't equipped to provide seamless operations, with zero Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) should a disaster strike. In order to guarantee the availability of applications, synchronous replication with real-time analytics needs to be simple to setup, monitor and manage for application owners and economical to the organization. That way, making zero data loss attainable suddenly becomes a reality."

Patrick Brennan, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Atlantis Computing:

"With 'always-on' business environments, data loss can destroy a company's brand and customer trust. A multiple software-based strategy with software-defined and hyperconverged storage infrastructure is the most effective route for a flexible backup plan. With this tactic, snapshots, replication and stretched clusters can help protect data, whether in a local data center cluster, across data centers or across the cloud. IT teams rely on these software-based policies as the backbone of their disaster recovery implementations, because the human element is removed. This is possible because the software-based strategy dictates that all virtual machines are accurately, automatically and consistently replicated to the DR sites. Through this automatic and transparent approach, no administrator action is required, saving employees time, money and providing peace of mind that business can carry on despite any outage."

Rob Strechay, VP Product, Zerto:

"It's only a matter of time before your data center experiences a significant outage, if it hasn't already, due to a wide range of causes, from something as simple as human error or power failure to criminal activity like ransomware and cyberattacks, or even more catastrophic events like hurricanes. Shifting thinking to 'when' as opposed to 'if' something like this happens is crucial; crucial to building a more flexible and resilient IT infrastructure that can withstand any kind of disruption resulting in negative impact on business performance. World Backup Day reminds us of the importance of both having a backup plan in place and as well as conducting regular reviews of current and new technology to do everything possible to keep business running without interruption."

Geoff Barrall, COO, Nexsan:

"Data is one of the most valuable business assets, and when it comes to data protection, chief among its IT challenges is the ever-growing rate of data and the associated vulnerability. Backup needs to be reliable, fast and cost efficient. Organizations are on the defensive after a disaster and being able to recover critical data within minutes is crucial. Breakthroughs in disk technologies and pricing have led to very dense arrays that are power, cost and performance efficient. Backup has been revolutionized and organizations need to ensure they are safeguarding their most valuable commodity - not just now but for the long term. Secure archive platforms are complementary and create a complete recovery strategy."

Jon Toor, Cloudian CMO:

"When looking at the growth of unstructured data, the industry is bursting at its seams. IDC Research predicts that we will have a massive 44 zettabytes (or 44 trillion GB) of data on our hands by 2020. We have more than 200 million surveillance cameras around the world generating 18.4 billion gigabytes of storage every two weeks. Organizations around the world are pondering where to keep it, how to keep it and how to quickly access it when they needed it. This is why the object storage industry is about to explode.

"Data backup and disaster recovery used to be treated as separate processes, which added complexity. But with object storage as a backup target you now have multiple options to bring backup and DR together in a single flow. You can configure a hybrid cloud and tier a portion of your data to the public cloud, or you can locate object storage nodes at different locations and use replication to provide geographic separation. So, this World Backup Day, consider how object storage has increased your options for meeting this critical need."

Ian Wood, Senior Director at Veritas:

"Spurred on by growth in big data, adoption of cloud computing and the explosion of rich data such as video, the amount of data being stored is growing at an exponential rate. World Backup Day is a reminder that backing up all information regardless of type or value is no longer viable. The business costs of contending with escalating data increase every day.

"When it comes to backup, simply investing in ever-greater storage capacity is not the answer. Recent research found that 41 per cent of files hadn't been modified in the past three years. In a 10PB storage environment, it would cost in the region of $20.5 million per year to manage and retain 41 per cent stale, redundant data.

"Most organizations struggle with exponential data growth. Many are hoarding every scrap of data, irrespective of value, on the off-chance it is needed in the future. Businesses should use World Backup Day to break this cycle. It is an opportunity to review data and determine what is business critical before backing it up, while deleting data that doesn't drive business value."

Patrick Rogers, Head of Marketing and Product, Cohesity:

"Enterprises should never underestimate the importance of backups, but simply creating copies of your data as an idle insurance policy is a waste of valuable IT resources that today's businesses can't afford. Companies need to put their data to work by leveraging backup copies to serve a range of secondary storage workloads including test/dev, file services and analytics. By taking a consolidated approach to secondary storage, IT leaders can use backups to power a much broader data ecosystem that's more efficient and easier to manage."

Seagate:

It's estimated that consumers have taken 1.1 trillion photos worldwide in 2016, and this number will grow to 1.2 trillion photos in 2017. Those are, um, non-trial numbers.

Additionally, according to the organizers of World Backup Day, almost 30 percent of all device users have never backed up their data. So to get people prepared, Seagate has created a list of tips to ensure that data is protected in all the right ways.

Tip 1: Be Prepared
You spill, you drop, you forget. Phones break and devices are stolen. Though you may not always think about it, it's important in your digital life as much as in your physical life to keep an eye out for potential vulnerabilities. That's why you should create a plan to regularly back up not only data stored on your computer and phone, but also from your social media networks.

Tip 2: Be Organized
World Backup Day is a great time to do some digital spring cleaning and get rid of any content that you no longer need. While you're at it, make sure to organize your remaining files into folders with names and categories you can easily search for and remember. Once you've done that, get a head start on maintaining your cleaned up and well organized content by scheduling recurring backups, keeping your data secure all year round.

Tip 3: Be Entertained

Are you a movie fanatic or music lover that wants to enjoy your content wherever you are? Or maybe you're planning a fun trip this summer? Try storing your on-the-go entertainment on a portable drive so they go where you go.

Most of all, don't be caught off guard if and when digital disaster strikes. On World Backup Day, now is the perfect time to ensure you have your backup plan in place and never live in fear of losing your personal, precious data.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...