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Why backing-up data is important to consumers

May 1, 2013 • Hardware

Many users have fallen into the trap where they have no backup solution implemented, and as a technological tragedy strikes, have no way of recovering their lost data.  April was Backup Month, and IT News Africa spoke to Anamika Budree, the Sales Manager for Branded Products for South Africa Western Digital, about what solutions are available, why it’s important to backup and what users can do to protect themselves.

Anamika Budree, the Sales Manager for Branded Products for South Africa Western Digital (image: WD)

1. What is the main aim of Backup month?

We urge consumers to backup all of the personal data that they store, regardless of platform. It’s more than just the purchase of a hard drive; we want to help consumers ensure that their content is being safeguarded with the help of automatic backup software like WD SmartWare and personal cloud products like the My Book Live range. We would like to send out this call to action as a stark reminder of the value of personal content; priceless and irreplaceable memories that we’d hate to lose

WD has put together its top five back up tips so consumers can put together their own backup plan:

1.      Don’t wait until it is too late – get your hands on an external drive

A backup means having no less than two copies of any data you deem valuable and external hard drives are a great way to backup files. They offer great value for money, are fast, and offer larger storage capacity than USB sticks, CDs and DVDs.

2.    Use back-up software: make it automatic. Set and forget!

It’s best not to rely on manually backing up your data – you will forget or sometimes be unable to backup your data. It’s also easy to make mistakes or omit something important when you’re backing up manually. Use backup software like WD’s SmartWare to automate your backup process. An easy-to-use backup program creates a backup copy of your data reliably and automatically, keeps logs and notifies you if any problems occur.

3.    Keep copies in different places: a backup of a backup of a backup…..

Make sure that you have at least two copies of your most important files. Several backups on different devices and in different locations, reduces your risk of complete data loss.

Remember that simply moving important files (i.e. maintaining only one copy of the data) from your computer to a hard drive is not backup but storage, so your files are still at risk of being lost should anything happen.

4.    Get your own personal cloud

Rest assured that your data is safe at home, yet is also accessible when you’re on the go with your own personal cloud storage system. With personal cloud storage options like the My Book Live range connected to your home network, you can safeguard content from your PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.

5.      Test your backup plan!

Your backup software will log any problems it has encountered while saving your files, make sure it didn’t miss anything…it may just be that special photo or video that you can never re-take.

 

2. How successful has the drive been in South Africa?

SA has always been a key focus for WD in regards to back up. We are keen to evangelize in the country and invest heavily in down-stream marketing activities to ensure that we promote the back-up message and ensure that people are thinking about their content. Getting people to at the very least think about their personal content and their link to it, means we have already won.

3. If users do lose their data, what methods can they employ to retrieve their data?

There are still some SMBs that seem to leave back-up last on their list of priorities because much like consumers, they believe that extensive data loss could never happen to them; our mentality is such that we only realize it when it’s too late. For these companies data recovery will be important because they will need to re-construct their missing data when the worst happens, although this is a very costly procedure. Ideally SMBs need to realise that although the initial investment in a robust back-up solution may be heavy on the budget, the follow-up cost is relatively low, if not non-existent. Prevention is indeed better and cheaper than cure!

4. What role does WD play in Backup month?

Over the past 42 years, WD not only recognized the intangible relationship between people and their photos, videos and music, it sought to develop easy-to-use, attractive and reliable storage solutions that will enable people to protect as well as access precious content.

WD continues to listen to consumer and market needs and develop products that specifically respond to them.  Having understood the importance of the data that is entrusted to hard drives, WD focuses its passion and knowledge on designing and producing reliable, high-performance hard drives and solid state drives that keep users’ data accessible and secure from loss.

WD’s continued investment into research and development, has allowed the company to innovate to customer needs with cost-effective superior-quality storage solutions. Investments made on technology such as WD GreenPower Technology™ have since grown into products that people rely on for their homes and businesses. With every photo taken, every mp3 bought and every home movie made, the storage industry continues to grow and we continue to listen to customers, developing products to their needs and being champions for data back-up.

5. What are the easiest ways to back up data? Cloud storage, or removable hard drives?

The storage market is a very dynamic one and  there is room for different storage solutions within it. That being said choosing a backup solution will often depend on the individual use case (s) and in today’s society it’s not un-heard of to employ various back-up solutions. The ease of use, transfer speed, low cost and large capacity of external hard drives makes this an almost obvious choice for the everyday consumer and ultimately we believe that end-users and businesses feel secure knowing that their personal and professional content is in a physical environment as opposed to the virtual cloud.

Some consumers and professionals are weary of storing their private information on the Internet as they feel that their files, some of which sensitive or classified, are stuck in some sort of no-man’s land and may be accessible by others. At WD we encourage the personal cloud which is a solution that combines both hardware and cloud based solutions like My Book Live and WD Sentinel.  Storing on the Internet 100% will become a real talking point once internet speeds increase and can compete with the rapidity and practicality of hard drive backup.

Also, we cannot forget that cloud storage hosts still rely heavily on hard drives to store the huge amounts of data they have, so even if the individual user isn’t using one, the online storage company is likely to be.

6. Do you have any statistics on data loss in South Africa?

We could get some info from here: http://www.idgconnect.com/blog-abstract/383/natasha-chapman-south-africa-the-true-cost-data-loss-report-indicates-south-african-companies-ill-prepared.  This is leaning more towards enterprise businesses.  But we could say that’s what is reported in the enterprise space where budgets allow for high tech hardware.  What must be the case for small business where desktop pc’s are still being used as servers.  We could go on to say that whilst the survey in the attached claims that 10% of enterprise business don’t recover their data and 37% take from 1 day up to a month to recover…. Not to mention the costs.  More than 60% of SME’s shut their doors due to lost data that cannot be recovered.

7. What is WD’s strategy in South Africa?

To keep educating the market about the importance of backing up. To encourage consumers; business, etc to out importance on their data to avoid regrets later.  To continue to evolve with the needs of our customers and to always endeavour to provide solutions that are attractive, affordable and most of all seamless.

8. What technology has WD pioneered in data storage?

WD first burst onto the scene in 1970 and went on to manufacture the first, single-chip, transmitter mostly used in calculators. From then on, WD went on to prove that it was not afraid to take well-calculated risks, invest and lead different markets: chip sets, controllers, hard drives, multimedia solutions, SSDs. Today, WD is synonymous of industry leader and industry firsts, having proved its technological expertise time and again in the storage market and having the confidence to venture into new fields and strive for that same level of excellence:

WD GreenPower Technology has revolutionized the storage industry since it was first introduced in 2007.

Thanks to innovative power saving technologies IntelliPower, IntelliPark, and IntelliSeek in the implementation of WD GreenPower technology, WD is able to offer power saving attributes that save companies and consumer time and money. WD GreenPower Technology boasts power savings of 4-5 watts over competitors’ drives of similar sizes without suffering any degradation in performance. This 40% power saving can reduce CO2 omissions by 60kg over a year which is the equivalent of taking a car off the road for a fortnight. Naturally there is an associated cost benefit to the user, looking to be around $10/computer/year. Whilst this is small change to users with one or two machines around the home, the product’s savings may turn heads in enterprise applications where many hundreds of drives will be running constantly throughout the year.

WD Green hard drives are tested and recommended for use in PCs as secondary storage, external enclosures and other applications that require cool and quiet operation.

WD led the industry in creating a new category of hard drives that use less power and helps to reduce the world’s energy demands one computer user at a time. With over 100 million WD Green drives sold* customers using WD Green drives have saved the planet over 466 million kwh of power – nearly equaling the annual power production of a single coal power plant!

(*Data reflects approximate drives sold as of June 2012.)

9. What solutions do WD have in terms of data storage solutions?

My Book Live and My Book Live Duo (Mac or PC)

The WD My Book Live is an ideal ‘cloud’ solution to the everyday challenge of storing and accessing your digital content. WD’s My Book Live features up to 3 Terabytes (TB) of storage. By connecting the My Book Live to a wireless router, users can create a centralised repository of all their digital content and back up their data using WD SmartWare.

Additionally, users can access and share their files and multimedia content from anywhere with a tablet or smart phone using the secure remote access and mobile apps such as WD 2go cloud app and WD Photos, a photo viewer app, without additional monthly fees or security concerns. The WD My Book Live also features iTunes server support which allows for wireless streaming of music or multimedia.

My Book Live Duo combines the benefits of shared storage and remote access featured with the  My Book Live but also includes double-safe backup or increased capacity with  a dual-drive system with RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) technology. It is available in an 8TB storage capacity. In the unlikely event that one drive fails, data is protected because it is duplicated on the other drive. Mac users can utilise all the features of Apple Time Machine backup software to regularly back up their data.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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