Though the last of the four real life scenarios below was more than a little unlucky, they all demonstrate how easy data loss can occur. Insurance companies will cover hardware loss, but loss of data is harder to proof and even harder to associate a cost against and therefore is rarely covered.

Purchased and downloaded music such as iTunes (where a cost can easily be applied) can be covered by insurance and can therefore be replaced. Anything that has been created by you is unique these types of data include wedding / holiday videos, photographs or even computer created media and graphics.  All are vulnerable to total loss without a comprehensive backup.

Scenario 1.

David is a freelance surveyor and because of the transient nature of his work he finds a laptop the most convenient way to operate. Due to hard drive space limitations he has resorted to using USB based devices to archive his data and now has three of these portable devices totalling nearly 1TB of reference data for the last ten years. Though Bill understands the concept of backups he chose to store these devices together. After one device failed he resorted to a backup device which had also suffered the same fate. Though two drives failing is rare, both devices were stored together and were destroyed by a single incident which turned out to be a strong electromagnetic source.

Scenario 2.

Chris has a set up that is typical of most families in which one PC is shared by multiple members of the same household. Chris had no concept of back up until his hard drive failed due to his PC’s age. As with many people who have PC’s for a while, there tends to be a lot of data accumulated over the years by all users of the device. Though his 320GB drive was relatively small by today’s standards it stored ten years of holiday photos, videos and downloaded music, not to mention his daughters A level course work.

Scenario 3

Robert is not a super user by any stretch of the imagination but has two PC’s. One of which he uses for general internet use and not much else as it is aging. Robert has recently invested in a new laptop to store and manipulate photos whilst pursuing his main hobby which is travel. After several once in a life time trips he decides to collate the photographs whilst on a weekend away. On the journey the laptop is stolen from his car at a motorway service station. He has lost three years of photos and memories that cannot be replaced.

Scenario 4

Tom is at university studying computer media and graphic design. All of his work is computer based and knows full well the concept of backing up important data. He follows the three location storage rule saving his data on the campus mainframe (as he knows this will be backed up to tape), as well as on his laptop. Two days before his dissertation is to be handed in the hard drive on his laptop fails, “no problem” he thinks I have the copy on the campus mainframe. Unfortunately for Tom the university had suffered a small fire in the server room which had destroyed the main storage, to compound the issue it seems that though backups had been taken to tape these had been failing for three years without the IT department being aware as no test recoveries had been completed for quite some time.