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What Is a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy?

Editorial Team
by Atlantic.Net (261 posts) under Disaster Recovery
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Everyone with a digital presence should have a robust backup strategy. Home users often have treasured photographs or family videos, documents, and other such digital keepsakes residing on an unprotected hard drive of a PC or Laptop. Businesses know the importance of regular backups, and it is expected that businesses protect precious company assets – including digital ones.

If you have ever been in the position of being at risk of losing data, you will know how critical regular backups of your data are. A 3-2-1 backup strategy is recommended because it offers three unique copies of crucial data. This approach goes above and beyond the protections offered at the hardware and disk layer, such as RAID and RAIN technology.

The first copy of data is the original file that resides on a server, PC, Laptop, or some form of digital device. The second copy is the copy saved within a local backup. The third copy can be either a replicated copy of the data in another data center, an offsite copy saved to tape and saved in a fire-safe of a secure location, or even a copy hosted by a cloud-based storage provider such as DropBox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

Depending on your compliance status, it might not be possible to have a third copy at a public cloud provider or overseas in an offshore location. In these circumstances, saving a replica copy to another server or file share is sufficient.

The 3-2-1 Backup strategy provides the best starting place for businesses and users in need of a serious data backup solution. The easy way to remember this approach is:

  • Two onsite copies of data (the original and the backup).
  • One offsite copy, either in an alternative location or offloaded to tape.
  • Backup data SHOULD always be encrypted.

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