Backups: What is rule 3-2-1?

Threats to our files can come in all shapes and sizes, from theft of devices to a malicious attack on the network, or even something more external like a fire or a water leak in the office.

Creating multiple backups of the most important data may seem like a tedious task - it is - but it can save us a lot of time and trouble in the long run. So, when disaster strikes, all data will remain secure and the amount of downtime you might experience will be significantly reduced. And there will be nothing to regret.

A bright and easy way to back up files is to follow the 3-2-1 method or rule.

The keys of rule 3-2-1

Make three copies of your data

The first rule of method 3-2-1 is to have at least two additional backups in addition to the original files. Many people make the mistake of having only one backup of their files. While this is certainly better than no backup at all, having at least two additional duplicates significantly reduces the possibility of data loss.

If we keep a spare copy of the documents in a drawer next to the desktop, the backup could be used if the primary computer or device fails. However, if there is a flood, fire or theft in the office and the main computer (plus the additional storage device) is damaged, both sets of data will be destroyed.

A third copy, as explained in the final point of rule 3-2-1, should ideally be stored in a different location than the first two versions.

Use two different types of storage devices

To further protect data, we must ensure that we use no less than two types of storage devices. For example, avoid using two USB sticks or two laptops for backups.

Again, this limits the possibility of a storage failure. If one USB stick does not work for a particular reason, there is a chance that the other can't successfully back up the files either.

There are a lot of reliable and affordable storage devices, including external hard drives, SD cards, CDs and even the humble floppy disk. Alternatively, we can use two hard disks, as long as they are stored in separate locations.

Keep a backup out of the office/home

While the technological side of backups is crucial, one of the best things we can do is physically store files in different locations.

As we've already mentioned, it's okay to make several replicas of your data, but if they're stored on the same site we run the risk that everyone will be affected if a disaster strikes. In this unfortunate scenario, we would lose all data. To avoid this, at least one of the backups should be, for example, in the cloud.

For larger companies, this step is quite simple. You probably already have additional facilities to store your backups. However, individual users, start-ups, and SMBs may not have this luxury. In this case, the transition to the cloud may be a viable option for more limited pockets. In this way, a backup of the data will be stored securely on a remote server that is managed by a trusted company (such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft).

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