Backups don't always prevent data loss - here's why

Written By: Ontrack

Date Published: 1 September 2022 10:15:02 AM

Backups don't always prevent data loss - here's why

For many people making a backup is just a tedious routine, however it can be very reassuring (for both private individuals as well as companies) to know that a functioning backup exists if a data emergency should strike.

Results of the global survey conducted by Ontrack once again demonstrate the importance of this issue. There were some interesting findings and conclusions to be drawn from the results, some of which were unexpected.

Backup frequency and media type

Despite the high outlay involved, two thirds of respondents stated that they usually perform a complete backup. Only a quarter said they opt for a more incremental approach to storing data. Cloud data storage is also increasing in popularity - in comparison to last year, the number of those using cloud services to backup data has doubled to over 30 per cent. Tape is also still a popular form of backup media; the number of users storing data on this magnetic device was double compared to last year´s results. An overwhelming proportion of users (44 per cent) do a daily backup, while more than 18 per cent of the survey participants revealed that they secure their data once a week, with 16 per cent doing so only once a month.

Nonetheless, around one third of the 1,000 customers taking part in the survey from Europe, North America and Australia had reported a data loss during the past year. However, 35 per cent of those affected admitted that they did not have a fully up-to-date backup available. The numbers look a little brighter though for the rates of recovery: 67 per cent of those who had suffered a data loss were able to almost fully recover their data and 13 per cent could recover three quarters of the data that was lost. Unfortunately, things were not so positive for the 12 per cent whose backups were corrupted and whose data was no longer retrievable.

One possible explanation for data loss despite having backups is the systems involved, as data can be lost if not all devices are integrated in the process. In order to ensure that data is being stored in a reliable way, mobile devices such as mobile phones or laptops also need integrating into the backup routine.

“Storage media is processing an ever-greater amount of data within systems which are continually becoming smaller and more complex – this means that IT teams not only have to spend a huge amount of time on the actual backup, but on checking that the backup is functioning correctly as well. This effort means that a considerable balancing act is needed on behalf of the IT team,” says Peter Böhret, Managing Director of Ontrack Germany.

Backups do not protect against data loss

Despite the increased awareness of the necessity to have a perfect backup, unforeseen data loss can still occur for many different reasons. We’d therefore recommend taking the following steps to achieve optimal results when performing a backup:

Choose a suitable backup solution

You should take the time to invest in a suitable backup solution and to create a backup plan for all the selected devices.

Automatic data backup

It is advisable to perform a backup at least once a day. The loss of sensitive data created on a single day or within a few hours still can cause huge damage.

Regular checks

The use of a software tool that automatically emails a report when a backup has been created successfully is a particularly secure step to take. This also allows checks to be conducted quickly and without fuss.

Backups should be checked for completeness and functionality on a regular basis in order to ensure that data can be recovered in an emergency - what use is there a backup that doesn’t work when you try to restore it? It is also necessary to check that data has been captured correctly and that your files are intact.

Don’t forget mobile devices

Always make sure that any mobile devices are also integrated into your backup routine so that any critical data isn’t lost when you are on the go. Locally saved data should be regularly included in the backup process.

If something still ends up going wrong, in the event of a data loss or damaged backup it’s best to immediately get in contact with a data recovery specialist. In the majority of cases you only have one chance to retrieve your data, therefore it’s best to let the experts take a look instead of trying DIY methods that could end up causing further damage.


KLDiscovery Ontrack Pty Ltd, Suite 9, 28 Donkin Street, West End, Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia (see all locations)