What is the 3-2-1 Rule for Data Backups?

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It’s no secret that backing up your data is important, but how exactly does one do so with 100% confidence in its security? One tried-and-true backup strategy experts employ is the “3 2 1 backup rule.” In an ever-evolving Information Technology (IT) world, the 3-2-1 data backup method has remained a constant for its simplicity and high effectiveness. You want to have the most thorough backup process you can have to ensure recovery of any data is simple and effective.

The basic concept of this strategy is for you to have secure storage of data off site as well as providing on site backups at your physical location. This way you have data protection in case of a natural disaster or a systems failure. We never want to be faced with a disaster recovery situation where there is data loss and we don’t have a backup copy. So when it comes time to best practices to backup data, follow these guidelines.

Three (3) Copies of Your Data

The first part of the 3 2 1 backup rule is to have three copies of the data in question to prevent data loss. You want your primary copy of the original data, a secondary copy, and a third copy. Redundancy is vital when it comes to preserving important information. Backing up properly is impossible without having additional copies of the same data. You can have as many backups of your data as you wish but have at least three to comply with this rule of thumb. Three copies ensure that if something happens to the first, you still have two more copies. And if something were to happen to the second copy, you still have that additional copy left to create another duplicate.

Two (2) Sources of Media

Split your three copies of data across at least two different media sources. For example, if you have two copies of the data on a flash drive, keep the other copy cloud storage. Allocating your backup data copies across more than one media type can keep your information secure in the event that one type crashes or breaks. Secure media types for data storage include DVDs/CDs, external hard drive, memory sticks, crash plans, and cloud storage. Two media sources always offer more value than one. Some things to keep in mind are that you want to be able to have quick access to your data, even with your secondary copies. While having multiple copies is crucial, you still want to be able to access them as needed. Whether you store your data in the cloud, have a copy off site, or a different media type, it is best practice to always be able to access your data quickly and efficiently.

One (1) Backup Stored Offsite

At this point, you should have multiple copies of your important data that is stored on at least two different sources of media. At least one storage medium you want to be cloud storage. The final step of the 3 2 1 backup rule is to store one copy of your data offsite. For example, if your data exists at your company office, you should store at least one backup away from your office, such as at a secure third-party storage facility or service provider. That way if your work computer crashes or the building burns down, you’ll still have at least one copy offsite of your most important data stored in a safe offsite location for disaster recovery. Make sure the off site location you choose for your data protection storage is secure. They should be familiar with the 3 2 1 backup strategy and be able to share their off site storage practices so you can be assured your backup copies will be available for recovery.

Count on Armstrong Archives for Secure Data Storage

Everyone who wants to hold onto their data should use the 3 2 1 data backup rule. Armstrong Archives can help prevent data loss. We are leaders in secure digital records management and document storage. We are well versed in the 3 2 1 backup strategy and many other proven security strategies for digital asset management. Our secure offsite records management services can act as the “1” in your 3 2 1 backup strategy plan, keeping backup copies of your valuable data in a place you know is secure. Contact us today for more information.

Sherri Taylor

Posted By: Sherri Taylor – President/Managing Partner

Sherri Taylor is the Managing Partner and President of Armstrong Archives, one of the largest independent records and information management companies in the Dallas/Ft Worth area.

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