technician works in data backup center

What is the 3-2-1 data backup rule and why do you need it?

Data backups make sure your important data is kept safe in case of data loss or disaster. Backing up your data should be part of any solid network security plan.

It can be more complicated when you need to back up data for multiple computers connected on a large network. A network security assessment can help you identify all devices and systems that need to be backed up.

There are many things to consider when backing up your data, such as whether you should use local storage or online backup. You may be skeptical about storing data online, but despite some myths and doubts about the cloud, it’s a great way to keep your data safe and separate.

But the best plan is utilizing a combination of both local and offsite (online) backup solutions. And that’s where the 3-2-1 data backup rule comes in. If you’re not sure what that is, keep reading and we’ll explain how it works and why you need it.

3 – Keep at least 3 copies of your data

Make sure you have at least 3 copies of all your data, at all times (and that includes the original copy). Three times the data minimizes any losses as the extra two copies exist solely for security reasons.

It’s also a number’s game – if the probability of data failure is 1 out of 100 and you keep your data on the same device, you have 1 out of 100 chance of losing your data. If you decide to maintain a second device, your chances drop to 1/1000. And if you opt for a third device, those numbers drop to 1/1,000,000. Do the math and you’ll see how simple yet effective this rule can be!

2 – Keep your data on 2 different types of storage

You can reduce the risk of losing data even further by storing your backups on at least 2 different types of devices. For example, you could store one copy on your server hard drive and one copy on an external USB drive. Imagine if your office experiences a power failure that fries your server hard drive. Your USB drive utilizes a different type of technology and is much more likely to be unaffected by a power loss.

If you haven’t already, it’s also a good time to start thinking about migrating some of your data to the cloud.

1 – Keep 1 copy of your data offsite

Keeping a copy of your data offsite means you have a clear and physical separation of your data (particularly useful for small to medium-sized businesses). This is important for many reasons.

Having your data stored offsite protects you in the event of an office fire that destroys equipment or a data breach that infects your network. With an offsite backup, getting your business up and running again in either situation will be a lot easier.

The 3-2-1 data back up rule is by no means an exhaustive or complete list of things to do to keep your data safe. But it’s a really great starting point in keeping your data, and your business, secure.