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The Cost of Lost Data

April 1, 2011

The other day, I asked a few people had they ever lost contacts, pictures, or other important information from their computer, cell phone or other electronic device. Then I asked them what they use for a back up system, to prevent it from happening today.

Most everyone that told me they had lost some kind of important data such as pictures, contacts and important documents at one time or the other. Less than half currently are not backing up their information.

The third question I asked them was what dollar value do they put on that information? Some of those I was talking to I had to rephrase the question to, “What would it cost you to if suddenly lost all your pictures, documents, and contacts?” The answers I got were from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. 

In 2001, I was talking to a store owner who lost six months of receipts because they were all on one computer. Today, he has a system that is build in where every hours all financial transaction are back up on a second computer. At the end of the day all those transaction records are backed up to another computer off site.

Figures from Pepperdine University show that 40% of all data loss comes from hardware failure. Another 29% comes from human error. The rest is divided between software corruption, computer viruses, and theft. I thought it is interesting to note that data loss due to human error is second hardware failure, although when I do talk to people they rarely admit it.

It was not two many years ago, it was left up to the end user to secure their data. Today, any where from computer to cell phone manufacture offer some kind of back up for important information. The data back up and restore service has a free side and a paid side. The free side is usually a minimum. Consisting of data under one or two gigabytes. The paid side is for a volume of data over the minimum limit.

There are two basic ways to back up your information. Either manually, where you have to remember to do it yourself, have some system where it is done automatically. If you are like me where life emergencies happen, I would forget to do it on a regular basis. An auto back would be done without me having to think about it.

Windows 7 has an built in system for you to backup you data files, but it is to a partition on that computer or another drive on the same computer. Now what if you have a house fire? What if that computer crashes. What good is that backed up information? Maybe an online backup solution would be better?

A couple years ago a friend came to me with a big old smile on his face. He proudly announce that he had backed up all in music on CD’s. and put them in a safe deposit box at his bank.

I smiled, and asked, if he had test those back up CD’s to make sure they will recover all his music without any problems. He lowered his head. His head changed from a smile to a frown. He then said, “You sure know how to ruin my day.”

It does not matter what kind of back up solution you choose. You just have to live with the results of that solution. If you choose a free or paid online or manual or automatic, you still have to live with the risks and the results.

There are four things you have to consider.

  1. Do you want to keep the back ups with you or off site?
  2. Do you want the back ups done manually or automatically?
  3. Periodically test those back up, so when something bad happens you know all is not lost.
  4. How much are you will to pay to protect you information?

Bottom-line: I personal  us an online back up system called Mozy. It backs up off site. It does it automatically. Once a year, I test my back up to prove to myself those back ups are good. It just me just $10 per month for three computer and up to 125 gigabytes of data.

What are you using for back up of your data? Have you proven those back ups to yourself?


Want to save more money? Get my little book, Cussins Family Shopping Guide. Here is a little book that will help you save big money. Just go to click here to get your copy today.

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