Matjaž Kljun, John Mariani, Alan Dix
Towards understanding short-term personal information preservation: a study of backup strategies of end users Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). Wiley. Article first published online 15 June 2015
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The segment of companies providing storage services and hardware for end users and small businesses has been growing in the past few years. Cloud storage, personal network-attached storage (NAS) and external hard drives are more affordable as ever before and one would think that backing up personal digital information is a straight forward process nowadays. Despite this, small group studies and corporate surveys show the opposite. In this paper we present the results from a quantitative and qualitative survey of 319 participants about how they backup their personal computers and restore personal information in case of computer failures. The results show that the majority of users do manual, selective and non-continuous backups, rely on a set of planned and unplanned backups (as a consequence of other activities), have inadequate knowledge about possible solutions and implications of using known solutions, etc. The study also revealed that around a fifth of all computers are not backed up, and a quarter of most important files and a third of most important folders at the time of the survey could not be (fully) restored in the event of computer failure. Based on results several implications for practice and research are presented.