27 March 2019
Press release

Acronis’ World Backup Day Survey Reveals a 30% Increase in Consumer Data Loss in 2018

As sophistication and cost of ransomware, cryptojacking, and social engineering attacks increase, 50% of consumers remain clueless about these online threats

London, UK - 27th March 2019 - In advance of World Backup Day on 31st March, Acronis today announced that its 2019 World Backup Day Survey into the data protection habits of users around the globe revealed that 65.1 percent of the consumers surveyed said either they or a family member lost data as a result of an accidental deletion, hardware failure or software problem - a jump of 29.4 percent from last year.

Yet for the first time in its five-year history, Acronis' World Backup Day Survey also showed that nearly all consumers (92.7 percent) are backing up their computers - an increase of more than 24.1 percent from last year and the single largest year-over-year increase.

"At first glance those two findings might seem completely incompatible - how can more data be lost if nearly everyone is backing up," said James Slaby, Director, Cyber Protection at Acronis. "Yet there are hints at why these numbers look this way in the survey. People are using more devices and accessing their data from more places than ever before, which creates more opportunities to lose data. They might back up their laptop, but if they did not back up the smartphone they just left in a cab, they are still losing data."

Acronis' 2019 World Backup Day Survey targeted users in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Poland, Spain, France, Japan, Singapore, Bulgaria, and Switzerland, polling consumers and, for the first time, business users. The increasing number of CEOs, CIOs and other executives losing their jobs as a result of data breaches, online attacks, and IT missteps prompted Acronis to incorporate their data concerns and practices into the study.

The addition of business users revealed several differences in how and why consumers and corporations protect their digital assets.

Only 7% of Consumers Do Not Even Try to Protect Their Data

The number of devices being used by consumers continues to climb, with 68.9 percent of households reporting they have three or more devices - including computers, smartphones, and tablets. That's up 7.6 percent from 2018.

Given the amount of data used and the stories about people losing their homes to fires and floods, as well as data losses due to high-profile ransomware attacks and security breaches, the increase in reported backups suggests consumers are at least trying to protect their data. This year, only 7 percent of consumers said they never back up, while nearly a third of last year's respondents (31.4 percent) did not back up their personal data.

They also report valuing their data more, with 69.9 percent reporting they would spend more than $50 to retrieve lost files, photos, videos, etc. Last year, fewer than 15 percent would have paid that much.

To protect their data, 62.7 percent of consumers keep it nearby, backing up to a local external hard drive (48.1 percent) or to a hard drive partition (14.6 percent). Only 37.4 percent are using the cloud or a hybrid approach of cloud and local backups.

The lack of cloud adoption presents another apparent disconnect. Consumers overwhelmingly said that having access to data is the greatest benefit of creating backups, with a significant majority selecting "fast, easy access to backed up data, wherever I am" above all other features. Yet just over a third of them back up to the cloud, which would give them the ability to retrieve files from anywhere.

The type of data that consumers are most concerned with losing seems to be contacts, passwords, and other personal information (45.8 percent), followed by media files like photos, videos, music, and games (38.1 percent).

Fewer than half of consumers are aware of the online attacks that threaten their data, such as ransomware (46 percent), cryptomining malware (53 percent) and the social engineering attacks (52 percent) used to spread malware. Education on these dangers seems to be slow, as the number of consumers who know about ransomware only increased 4 percent since last year.

Companies Aggressively Protect Data in the Cloud

Since an hour of downtime costs an estimated $300,000 in lost business, corporate users clearly know the value of their data. And since CEOs and C-level executives are being held more accountable for their data protection and security postures in the wake of a rash of high-profile incidents, leadership is taking a more active interest.

That helps explain why the business users who responded to Acronis' World Backup Day Survey are already prepared to protect their files, apps, and systems - with a significant majority citing safety and security of their data as the benefits that are most important to them, ranking them first and second, respectively.

The 2019 survey is the first-time companies were included in the annual poll, and the responses came from businesses of all sizes - including 32.7 percent small businesses with under 100 employees, 41.0 percent medium businesses with between 101 and 999 employees, and 26.3 percent large enterprises employing 1,000 people or more.

Regardless of the company size, the majority make protecting their data a priority by backing up their company data monthly (35.1 percent), weekly (24.8 percent), or daily (25.9 percent). As a result, 68.7 percent said they did not suffer a data loss event during the past year that resulted in downtime.

These companies were also clearly aware of the latest risks to their data, which is why they reported being either concerned or highly concerned about ransomware (60.6 percent), cryptojacking (60.1 percent), and social engineering attacks (61.0 percent).

In practice, businesses of all sizes rely on cloud backups, with 48.3 percent using the cloud exclusively and 26.8 percent using a combination of local and cloud backup.

In terms of security ("data protected against online threats and cybercriminals"), the cloud provides a buffer that such malware attacks have difficulty to breach.

Defending Against New Malware

As modern threats to data continue to evolve at breath-taking speed, both individuals and companies need to look for secure data protection solutions that provide the full range of protection - including flexible local, hybrid, and cloud-based backups and active anti-malware solutions.

Only Acronis backup solutions - Acronis Backup for businesses and Acronis True Image for personal use - include an active, artificial intelligence-based defence against ransomware that detects and stops ransomware in real time and automatically restores any affected files. The technology is so effective it stopped 400,000 ransomware attacks last year.

The latest version of this integrated defence, called Acronis Active Protection, was recently enhanced to recognize and stop cryptomining malware as well. Added in the fall of 2018, the updated defence stopped tens of thousands of cryptomining attacks within the first month it was available.

Cyber Protection Recommendations for World Backup Day

Whether you are concerned about personal files or securing your company's business continuity, Acronis has four simple recommendations to help protect your data:

  • Always create backups of important data. Keep copies of the backup both locally (so it is available for fast, frequent recoveries) and in the cloud (to guarantee you have everything if a fire, flood, or disaster hits your facilities).
  • Ensure your operating system and software are current. Relying on an outdated OS or app means it lacks the bug fixes and security patches that help block cybercriminals from gaining access to your systems.
  • Beware suspicious email, links, and attachments. Most virus and ransomware infections are the result of social engineering techniques that trick unsuspecting individuals into opening infected email attachments or clicking on links to websites that host malware.
  • Install anti-virus software and enable automatic updates so your system is protected against common, well-known malware strains. Windows user should confirm that their Windows Defender is turned on and up-to-date.

Find out more about how you can protect your data at https://www.acronis.com/en-us/promo/world-backup-day/

Acronis 2019 World Backup Day Survey available here: https://www.acronis.com/en-us/blog/posts/world-backup-day-2019-survey-results

About Acronis:

Acronis is a global cyber protection company that provides natively integrated cybersecurity, data protection, and endpoint management for managed service providers (MSPs), small and medium businesses (SMBs), and enterprise IT departments. Acronis solutions are highly efficient and designed to identify, prevent, detect, respond, remediate, and recover from modern cyberthreats with minimal downtime, ensuring data integrity and business continuity. Acronis offers the most comprehensive security solution on the market for MSPs with its unique ability to meet the needs of diverse and distributed IT environments.

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses. Learn more at www.acronis.com.
Press contacts:
Katya Turtseva
VP of Communications