Data backup numbers still found lacking

Just 35% of adult computer users regularly backup their personal and professional data, according to the results of a recent customer survey by storage vendor Maxtor.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  March 1, 2006

Just 35% of adult computer users regularly backup their personal and professional data, according to the results of a recent customer survey by storage vendor Maxtor. The US company's study discovered that the perceived difficulty of backing up data is currently the biggest sole reason for computer users not making second copies of their valuable files and folders. 44% of the users Maxtor surveyed said that backing up data was too technical a process for them to do. Meanwhile, 21% said they didn’t believe it to be important, with 20% claiming it was too time consuming a task. On the plus side, only 11% of respondents said that they never knew backing up was a recommended course of action. Speaking exclusively to Windows Middle East magazine, Maxtor's vice president for the EMEA region, Didier Trassaert, explained that these are the reasons - long since suspected by Maxtor - that his firm is devoting as much energy to educating consumers about the value of backing up data than it is actually advertising its products. "We are spending a lot of money to make users aware of data backups," Trassaert said. The company last year, for example, launched a backup awareness campaign (see www.backupawareness.com). "People are storing a lot of information and sometimes this information can be on their C or D drive without any backup or copy of it existing," Trassaert added. "I can give you one example: we have a customer service line at Maxtor, and of course we receive lots of calls from consumers. What is very noticeable, and what has surprised us over the last few months, is that when we receive a call from an end user, often the first question they ask is not, "Oh I need a replacement product," or, "Can you credit me because my drive is out of order?", instead the first question is, "How do I restore my data?". That's a very important point because it means that the real value is not with the drive, it's the data. This is exactly why we have a disaster recovery organisation within Maxtor, to help retrieve this information." "When you look at the advertising campaigns that we are running," Trassaert claimed, "we are not promoting the drives, the One Touch II or the One Touch III, we are making people aware. We're asking them, "Have you backed up your system?" We want to keep them focussed on this." Asked if awareness of backup procedures and their value is any different in the Middle East region to Europe or Africa, Trassaert said that - although not sure - he saw no reason why this should be the case. "You have some countries, lots in Europe now, where the problem has been underlined," he said, "and where people are systematically selling backup solutions with notebooks for instance. These bundles are actually a great success." Trassaert added that next month the company will unveil a new technology. This will enable Maxtor to reduce the number of disk platters a hard drive employs, without reducing the drive's overall storage capacity and resulting in a performance improvement. This should mean, for instance, that instead of a 300Gbyte hard disk utilising three platters, it will require less than three, with each platter holding more than the now-customary 100Gbytes. "We have developed a basic drive, for PC integration, one version for consumer electronics and one version for the Mac," Trassaert explained. "Of course, we will also take advantage of the performance increases in those drives and include the technology across our whole product portfolio." Maxtor's channel partners in the UAE will be able to check out such platter-sparse drives at the Distree conference event taking place in Fujairah this May.

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