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Americans Would Trade Vacation, Alcohol or Cellphones for Lost Data

no-alcohol-11110102 Credit: Dreamstime.com

There's little question Americans love their vacation time and their cocktails, but new research suggests they love their computers even more.

Released by Carbonite, the study found that 50 percent of those surveyed would rather lose their vacation time for a year than lose all of the files on their computer.

And while wedding rings may be an important symbol of marriage, the research also revealed that nearly 40 percent of those surveyed would rather lose it than everything on their computer.

In addition, the study shows that Americans would be willing to give up a lot if it meant they could recover data, including:

  • Giving up beer and wine for a year — 34 percent.
  • Giving up coffee for a year — 31 percent.
  • Giving up their cellphone for a month — 23 percent.
  • Giving up their free time to mow their neighbor's lawn for a year — 18 percent.

It's not just luxury items those surveyed are willing to part with. Nearly two-thirds said they would pay to get their lost data back if their computer crashed, with 21 percent willing to pay as much as $500 and 27 percent saying they would pay whatever it took.

Despite the significant value placed on electronic data, nearly 40 percent of those surveyed admit they have never backed up their computers , or haven't done so in more than a year.

The research also found that despite more than half of those surveyed having lost all of their personal files in a computer crash, people still continue to place too much trust in their hard drives.

The survey shows that 82 percent of Americans keep electronic files, with the majority nowhere else but on their computer hard drive. In addition, the average person surveyed has more than $400 worth of digital music and movies on their computer.

David Friend, Carbonite CEO and chairman, said people have priceless photographs, critical personal financial information and hundreds of dollars of digital media stored on their computer, but still aren't taking the necessary precautions to ensure it is safe. Carbonite provides data-backup services.

"It's interesting to contrast the way people insure their treasured possessions, like their home and their car, with the ways in which they leave their often-irreplaceable digital assets unprotected," Friend said in a statement. "Most have experienced at least one major data loss disaster, yet are still not taking simple steps to protect the contents of their computer."

The study, conducted by Wakefield Research, was based on surveys of more than 1,000 Americans over the age of 18.


Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.