A joint survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International has found that 18% of South African users surveyed who kept backup copies of their data on physical media eventually lost these copies.

The survey revealed that, while the vast majority (96%) of respondents stored confidential information — such as private correspondence, photos, passwords or financial data — on their devices, less than one third of the respondents considered creating backup copies in the event of data loss. And 26% of users locally took no security measures of this kind while 5% did not even intend to do so in the future.

The survey also highlighted that those who did make backup copies of their files were not always guaranteed against their loss.

Physical storage media, such as hard drives and flash memory, remained the most popular method: 80% of respondents locally kept their backup copies on such media, while only 11% used cloud services. However, of those who preferred physical storage media, 18% had experienced irrecoverable data loss because the storage device was lost, broken or stolen.

“By taking a systematic approach to backup, you can take good care of your data. Decide which information is the most valuable to you and create backup copies of it on a regular basis,” says Peter Aleshkin, consumer marketing group manager: emerging markets at Kaspersky Lab.

“The optimal way of keeping important information safe is in encrypted folders, stored both on physical media and in a cloud storage environment. This will safeguard your data even in the case of such highly unlikely events as a global Internet outage or the destruction of the building in which you keep your hard drive.”