What is the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?
In the investment world, the idea of diversification is a common way to balance risk. By spreading your investments across different assets, you ensure that if any one investment declines, your entire portfolio won’t go down with it. The same is true for your data. That is the essence of the 3-2-1 Backup Rule. The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy is a framework that recommends saving three (3) copies of your data, on two (2) different types of media, one (1) of which must be off site for disaster recovery.
Why is following the 3-2-1 backup rule a good idea?
If you haven’t yet experienced a catastrophic computer failure, you can count yourself lucky. In fact, you should probably buy a lottery ticket. Whether your data is stored on spinning disks or solid state drives, your computer and its storage will eventually fail; most hard drives an average life span of three to five years. When you add in the eventuality of other catastrophes like flooding, fire and good old-fashioned clumsiness, it’s easy to see that needing to recover your data is not an if, but a when.
Fortunately, data redundancy is an easy and effective method to protect against data loss. By following the 3-2-1 backup rule and keeping multiple copies of your data in different formats, you dramatically reduce the likelihood of completely losing your important data. By having an off-site backup, you also protect against an unexpected disaster at your primary location.
The 3-2-1 backup rule is a necessary part of a disaster recovery plan.
The 3-2-1 backup rule should be top of mind for the security of your data. Backup solves the same core problem as your firewall or antivirus just flipped on its head. All of these solutions exist to protect your critical data the difference comes in whether you are employing a knee-pad (firewall/AV) or a band-aid (backup). Regardless of how proactive your solutions are, it is never possible to out-engineer a motivated aggressor or a careless mistake. That’s where the backup comes in. When your computers are hijacked by ransomware, or an intruder gets access to your systems, having multiple protected backups away from the infected systems allows you to recover and gives you the peace of mind that even when a primary copy of data is destroyed you have a failsafe.
The 3-2-1 backup rule does not have to be difficult or time consuming.
Having a dedicated backup solution with software that works in the background, backs up on a regular basis, and backs up offsite to the cloud, makes following the 3-2-1 backup rule very easy. With a cloud backup solution, you have an off-site backup, in a different media, that is taking care of one copy of your business data. Supplement this with periodic backups to a hardware solution like an external hard disk and/or built-in redundancy from a technology like a RAID array to achieve additional protection with little effort.
Most backup providers even allow you to use their software to schedule backups to physical media like an external hard drive, taking care of the work 3-2-1 backup for you.
A 3-2-1 backup strategy safeguards more than just your business data.
Data has never been more valuable, whether it be financial information, customer data, personal identifying information or other confidential files. It would be lovely to live in a world where exploits, phishing, and ransomware didn’t exist to attempt to extract that value from your data but, unfortunately that is not the case.
Having your systems hijacked by ransomware, or losing intellectual property to disasters and hardware failures, will have far-reaching business impacts, such as eroding public perception and customer trust. Plus, when we’re talking about personal data, the picture of a childhood friend or a college term-paper cannot be recreated. By following the 3-2-1 rule, you can recover quickly when disaster strikes; saving you money and heartache in your personal life, and safeguarding your business’s bottom line and reputation professionally. Having a thorough backup strategy that allows you to come back from a critical failure sets the table for success.
A 3-2-1 strategy saves you money.
Ransomware is a threat that has accelerated to prominence in cybersecurity in recent years and it isn’t going away anytime soon. There have been numerous high-profile ransomware attacks that have cost businesses millions of dollars because they did not invest in multiple reliable backups to protect their data.
Without backups, your only avenue to get your data back is to pay the ransom, which only incentivizes further attacks and far from a guarantee when dealing with criminals.
By following the 3-2-1 backup rule, you preserve several options and strategies to recover your data. You can restore your critical data from your off-site, uninfected backups on clean, isolated systems while you work to restore your primary hardware. Then you can move on to planning how to further improve your preventative security, rather than reeling from a total loss.
The 3-2-1 backup rule is part of your data security.
You wouldn’t drive a vehicle without strong insurance. You wouldn’t keep all your money in a single place. Similarly, you shouldn’t leave your data unprotected. By taking simple steps (far easier than signing up for an insurance policy or brokerage account) you can protect your data from an untimely demise. If you take nothing else away from this article, we hope that it’s this: find a reliable backup provider with the features you need to help you keep good backups. You’ll thank us someday.
If you find yourself at a loss for where to start; can we recommend CrashPlan? Start a free trial.