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Acronis miscalculates data on users' bad backup habits

Acronis misinterpreted its survey data and showed an alarming percentage of people back up only once every two or three months. But it turns out the stats aren't as bad as you think.

The survey section where the percentages were taken out--the numbers just don't justify what Acronis said in its report. Acronis

Acronis, a major vendor of backup software, released a report earlier this week stating that about 87 percent of computer users back up their data once every two or three months--way less frequently than recommended. This suggests that most of us live dangerously when it comes to backing up.

The survey was widely reported in the press, but it turns out the numbers didn't seem to go well with Acronis' report.

The percentages released to the media were taken from the question "How often do you back up your hard drive or files?" Results include: 48 percent for "once a week (or more)"; 55 percent for "2-3 times a month"; 81.5 percent for "once a month"; 86.8 percent for "every 2-3 months", 91.4 percent for "2-3 times a year", 94.6 percent for "once a year or less"; and 25.5 percent for "never."

It may be that I'm Asian and extra good with math, but I couldn't help but notice that when added up, the numbers total around 500 percent. Other ways to interpret the chart didn't justify the reported 87 percent, either. So maybe you're not as bad at backing up as some media reports told you you were.

Marc Mombourquette, Acronis' product marketing manager, confirmed Wednesday morning that there was an error in the data calculation. He added that "in the future, we'll (be) restructuring the survey to allow only one answer and double-checking the total number of answers with the number of reported responses." In the meantime, the company is working on a revised report on the survey and the possibility of re-doing it entirely.

Preliminary recalculations by Acronis show that 64 percent of some 6,100 participants who answered the survey said they back up once every two or three months; 36 percent say they back up once a week.

Even with these new, more encouraging numbers, I still believe most of us don't take backing up seriously enough. Generally, if you use a computer frequently, it's important to back it up at least once a week.

Apart from True Image, a product by Acronis, there are also quite a few free and powerful backup products I recommend, such as GFi Backup Home Edition.

Remember, it's better to be safe than sorry, and you can never be too careful when it comes to important data (unless, of course, you're happy being a statistic).