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A Third of People Think Mobile Backup is Unnecessary: Are They Right?

A new survey suggests that large amounts of consumer and business data are at risk of being lost forever because people are either being too relaxed or ignorant as to the importance of mobile data.

Leading up to World Backup Day on the 31st March, a day that aims to promote the need for strong backup plans, the antivirus company Avast surveyed 288,000 people globally to find out their attitudes about backing up the data that is stored on their smartphones and tablets.

36 percent of the respondents believed that it was not necessary to create backups of the contacts, photos and documents that they had stored on their mobile devices. Almost a quarter of the overall respondents said they just couldn’t be bothered to back up their data, while 22 percent believe that the data stored on their portable devices wasn’t important enough.

These are worrying results, especially considering how difficult data recovery can be on smartphones and tablets – especially if that data is stored within the phone’s internal storage. Recovery is more successful when the data is stored on a SD card, but there should be no need to even rely on recovery at all. Ensuring that data is always backed up will mean that there are other copies to rely on in a disaster.

These findings contradicted another result of the survey that found 64 percent of individuals would be more worried about losing the data stored on the devices than the device itself. While a smartphone or tablet can be replaced at a cost, if data can’t be recovered then there’s no way of getting it back. And when some data is going to be priceless, perhaps containing family photos or important text messages, there’s no good reason for not backing up.

“We use our mobile devices to make important calls, capture valuable moments, browse the web, to use our favorite apps and so much more,” said Stefanie Smith in a blog post for Avast. “Anything can happen to your mobile device in a split second... Yet, as we discovered, many do not back up the data they consider indispensable.”

A previous survey conducted by Kaspersky found that people sharing their devices (including laptops) to friends and family could be putting the data stored therein at risk, even if the borrower doesn’t intend it. That survey found that 32 percent of individuals don’t think about the security of their data before lending a device, with only 33 percent making routine backups of their data.

Some mobile devices will back up particular bits of data automatically. For example, iPhones are linked to iCloud, which is the cloud service provided by Apple that backs up data like contacts and photos. Equally, Android devices are tied to a Google account, which allows for backups of data like contacts.

However, a full backup will require the use of third-party apps, some of which may require the device to be rooted. Nevertheless, your mobile data is equally, if not more than, as important as the data stored on your computer. If you back up the data stored on your computer (and you should), there’s no excuse to not do the same on a portable device.


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