The 3-2-1 Backup Rule Done Right

The loss of data has become more of a prevalent event in our culture. Hackings and data criminals have been on the rise now for several years. Every day there are new viruses and malware that are developed to destroy or steal information.

If you wonder what the best way to protect your data most simply and affordably is, the 3-2-1 backup rule might be for you. This is a very foundational method that has been around for a long time. Still, with the advent of many data protection solutions, sometimes the fundamental resources get lost in the mix.

What is the 3-2-1 backup strategy?

Basically, that means instead of just having one copy of your data, you have three copies of your data. Two of them you can leave on a local device, and then the last copy you can leave off-site.

To give you a visual example, say you have taken a picture of your favourite pet. Obviously, one copy is on your phone. Then when you get home, perhaps you downloaded it to your computer or external drive. Then lastly, you upload to something like Google Photos or Google Drive. This, in essence, is the 3-2-1 backup strategy in effect.

The complete backup strategy

Why is it so important to have one off-site option? Well, because the other two options of being on-site can fail you at any given time. The off-site option will be directly separated from your two on-site options.

Let’s say that you leave your favourite pet picture on your computer, but you also have an external drive connected that you can save it to. That’s great. If your laptop breaks down or is stolen, you have a copy of that photo on the external drive. However, what if you don’t always remember to update your external drive as you are working and saving stuff, and it’s not there? Then you have lost that picture or any other documents that you have forgotten to save to the external drive.

However, when you have a third option like Dropbox or Google Drive, you will always have your third option available to you. Especially if you have it synced to do automatic backups from your main device, your data will always be backed up to an off-site platform.

No data protection system is perfect. On the other side of the coin, this is a complete version of data protection that is stable and interesting. It’s also free and allows you a foundational source for data protection while you find something that you think would be more in alignment with what you need.

When you back up your data, it is like protecting your investments.

If you see the 3-2-1 backup system like investing, it will encourage you to jump on the ball. It is a well-known concept not to put all your eggs in one basket when investing at any moment. Your investment can be totally lost if you do not diversify.

That goes the same way for your data protection method. If you only have it stored in one place, what happens when one device is no longer accessible? If you have a second option like an external drive, that is great. What happens if you forget to regularly back it up and lose data from your first basket? Having a third option ensures that you will more than likely always have access to what you need.

Other implementations to consider:

Immutable Storage

Many people are not aware of this option, but it’s basically cloud vendors allowing you to back up your data resources to the cloud. There is nothing about the documents that can be changed or deleted until it has reached the timing that you have set. So, basically, if you upload data to one of these cloud services, you can set on the calendar that nothing can be deleted or changed for a year. That means that you yourself will not even be able to delete or change anything.

Varying Storage Options

Change up with you but typically use it as your primary storage. A certain type of attack designed for that primary storage may not affect another type of storage.

Try a Different Operating System 

Unfortunately, a lot of malware and Ransom attacks have happened with the Windows operating system. Try saving your data to a different operating system or a backup server.

Use Different Accounts

Using absolutely different login credentials to back up your data can be life-saving. This is strategic for attacks that might come to a particular account. It will fail because the credentials will not be with the same credentials as the other platforms.

Change Up Your Environment

A lot of backup systems tend to be directly accessible through your LAN. This helps to block any potential compromise that comes from on-prem servers directly.

The Premises Backup for the 3-2-1 Rule

The chances are high that you were already using some on-premises data management for virtual or physical backups. The main and ongoing challenge people face is migrating data to an off-site option depending on the complexity of systems and costs.

It is good to know in advance what type of other options can be investigated to move your data properly into a safe place.

The support is proactive. There’s nothing like moving your data over to a new platform and having no idea what to do. Or experiencing some hiccup, and it is hit or miss getting a hold of customer support. You want to look for support that has 24/7 protection, they are regulated, and it’s clear when their availability is for support.

Off-site backups that are hosted. The best way to utilize this is to send it through a secure SSL connection on an enterprise level. That instills greater protection as data is being transferred from one place to another.

Try end-to-end encryption. Did you know you have military-level encryption available to you with additional security certifications? Yes, options like this do exist; you have to know what you’re looking for when doing your research.

Physical servers and virtual machines. By consolidating data into one of these environments, you are creating a greater data protection environment.

Automation for more control. This is an incredible time saver as you can schedule backups, testing and do instant restores at any time.

As you can see, the 3-2-1 backup approach is both simple yet vast. There are ways to make it a little more advanced and secure or, you can go with the most simple approach as you seek out other ways to protect your data.

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