The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy Explained

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

Data backup is extremely important for everyone, especially when we keep almost everything digitally in this age. Whether it is a hard drive or solid-state drive, accidental damages and malfunctions are hard to prevent. The 3-2-1 backup strategy is widely believed in both the tech industries and communities to be the gold standard to keep precious data safe. But what exactly does it mean?

The basic concept of the tactic is to put the data at multiple locations in different formats/mediums. This is to minimize the risk of all the copies failing simultaneously.

3 Total Copies

Every file needed to backup is required to duplicate into three total copies in different storage mediums. Two of them will be stored locally, while the last one in a separate location. Normally, the onsite backups will use traditional hard disk drives and solid-state drives to allow faster and easy access. Offsite backups generally update less frequently and will use longer-term storage devices, like magnetic tapes and optical discs.

2 Onsite Backups

HDDs/SSDs on your computers will have limited lifespan and will wear out after a certain period of time. Apart from the primary copy of data on the personal computer or device, the data should be uploaded/replicated to either a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) or external HDD. This way, you would be able to retrieve the necessary files quickly, in the event of unexpected hardware failure.

1 Offsite Backup

In case of natural or geographical disasters (e.g. flooding and fire), the safety of the onsite backups cannot be ensured. An offsite backup is in fact one of the most crucial, yet underrated measure for data backup.

You should keep a copy of the data away from the other two copies, preferably at locations in another districts/states. For enterprises, they usually hire tape vaulting company, like Seery System. As an average customer, you can settle on putting the data up to cloud services, such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Or simply burn a CD/DVD and mail it to your friends or relatives.

You should treat the 3-2-1 backup strategy as a rule of thumb, but it should be altered to fit different people/companies’ needs.

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