Computer Backup: Pick a Card, Any Card

Computer Backup

Earlier this month, we blogged about the results from our 2015 Annual Backup Awareness Survey. There were charts and tables and numbers, and as everyone read it, their eyes glazed over and they drifted into a sound sleep. For the last eight years, we’ve collected, parsed, and presented this data each June. The upshot is that only 8% of people back up their computers daily while for the remaining 92%, computer backup is a game of chance. If publishing charts and graphs and such doesn’t seem to reach the 92% that are backup procrastinators, what else can we do?

Let’s Play a Game

What you need to play:

    • Go get a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Game set up: Your computer has been stolen! Based on the statistics we’ve gathered over the past eight years, let’s see how much of your data is lost. By lost data, we mean the photos, documents, spreadsheets, etc. you changed or added on your computer since your last backup.

Playing the game: With the playing cards face down, each player in turn takes the deck of cards, shuffles it multiple times and then randomly picks one card from the deck (no peeking). Match the chosen card to the table below to see how much data you’ve lost.

How much data will you lose?
Card Drawn Amount of Data Lost
2, 3, or 4 All of your data is lost
5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 One year or less
10, Jack or Queen One month or less
King One week or less
Ace One day or less

Record how much data you’ve lost, return your card to the deck, and give the deck to the next player. The game continues until there are no more players to draw from the deck. Each player gets only one turn.

Winning the game: The person who loses the least amount of data wins. Multiple players can win by losing the same amount of data. If all players lose all their data, there is no winner.

Playing time: A couple of minutes (most of that time will probably be spent looking for a deck of cards).

Time to recover your lost data: Proportional to the time since you backed up.

Drawing Aces

In the real world, having a computer backup strategy is “aces.” We’ve put together a Computer Backup Guide outlining many of the different backup options available. Some of the options are manual, some are automatic, but all can help you back up and recover the data that resides on your computer. After all, backing up your computer shouldn’t be a game of chance.


About Andy Klein

Andy Klein is the Principal Cloud Storage Storyteller at Backblaze. He has over 25 years of experience in technology marketing and during that time, he has shared his expertise in cloud storage and computer security at events, symposiums, and panels at RSA, SNIA SDC, MIT, the Federal Trade Commission, and hundreds more. He currently writes and rants about drive stats, Storage Pods, cloud storage, and more.