In the IT world, some rules are always changing. It’s good to remember, however, that some rules are timeless because they still make A LOT of sense! The 3-2-1 backup rule is a great example.
The 3-2-1 backup rule can help you overcome nearly any failure scenario if you follow it. It implies that you should:
Despite the 3-2-1 backup rule’s simplicity, many people continue to ignore it and lose their data because they were unprepared for a disaster. Many lessons were learned after disasters such as 9/11 – some companies from the World Trade Center stored their offsite backups in the SAME OFFICE buildings and lost all of their company data in a few short hours.
Following the 3-2-1 backup rule is easy! Here’s how it works:
1. Have at least 3 copies of your data
By three copies, I mean your original data and two backups. It’s obvious that the more copies of your data you make, the less risk you have of losing everything.
One backup is good, just not good enough. If you have only one additional copy of your data, AT LEAST make sure it’s located in a different physical location from the original (and as far away as possible!).
2. Keep these backups on 2 different media
Having several backups of your data and keeping them in the same place is NOT logical. Why? Because a common failure will affect all devices.
The 3-2-1 backup rule urges you to keep backups on a wide range of different mediums: tapes, USB drives, CDs, external and internal hard drives, etc.
3. Store 1 backup offsite
Offsite means as FAR AWAY as possible, in another city, state, country or even continent. Your data is safe then, even if there is a fire or national disaster. Using a cloud service also satisfies this requirement.
How do you follow the 3-2-1 backup rule?
There are lots of ways! For instance, you can just set up a reminder on your calendar and then copy your data manually according to the 3-2-1 rule. There are also a number of easy-to-use applications which will automatically create your backups and ALSO follow the 3-2-1 backup rule by storing them in specified offsite locations.