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The 3-2-1 Principle Of Data Backups

The 3-2-1 Principle of Data Backups

Written by Jim Mitchell, Planit Canada Technical Consultant.

What is data backup used for?

The purpose of data backup is to create a copy of your data that can be recovered in case your primary data is lost. Data loss can come in many forms such as ransomware, hardware failure, corruption, malware, natural disasters such as fire or floods, or maybe even a break-in that could leave you needing to rebuild from scratch.

Having one copy of data in one location may seem like enough but imagine the unthinkable happens; a water main break completely floods your server room, destroying equipment. Where are your backups and will you have what you need available to restore back into production?

PLANIT CANADA – The 3-2-1 Principle of Data Backups Video

What is the best way to back up your data?

The 3-2-1 principle of data backups is the tried, tested and true method for maintaining backups of your data. You should always keep three copies of your production data, including 2 different storage mediums and one offsite copy for disaster recovery.

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x3 Copies of Data

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x2 Storage Media

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x1 Offsite Storage

Production data is the server or workstation with all your CABINET VISION data on it. The data originates or centralizes here, and you know how many hours of setup, configuration, and design work it represents. This data is important to you and your business, and its loss would set you back significantly.

What are the 3 types of backups?

Your 3 types of storage mediums could include an external hard drive, a Network Attached Storage (NAS) and cloud-based storage.

Backup Medium One

Now that we’ve understood how important your production data is to you, you’ve made a copy of it to a device such as an external hard drive, a NAS (network-attached storage), a tape drive, or some appropriate type of storage media adequate in size for your backup needs. Now, if something were to happen to your production data, you could recover easier with a well-maintained backup of your data.

Backup Medium Two

While you strive to be continuously optimistic, you’re also aware of Murphy’s law that states “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” and make yet another copy of your data to maintain on an added media. Your last media type was an external hard drive and you’re now considering a NAS (Network-Attached Storage) to simplify the process, but regardless any added media type fits the 3-2-1 principle.

Backup Medium Three – Offsite Backup

You now may feel we have reached a level of paranoia. How many backups of data do you really need? To outline the importance of the off-site backup, we need to consider aspects outside of potential hardware failures and consider physical scenarios such as losing devices to natural disasters such as fire, flood, or break-ins.

Many people have a cloud-based storage solution such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive and may not even be aware of it but backing up to one of these or a similar provider fits the model of 3-2-1 for off-site storage.

How much does Cloud backup cost?

Backup Storage Pricing

Below we address some of the costs associated with backup storage. Cloud backup storage can vary in price and many users may already be using a service already that includes cloud storage, such as Microsoft or Google Suites.

External Hard Drive
$80 - $160
  1. A great inexpensive solution for backups
  2. Can be plugged in via USB and stored away for safekeeping
NAS (Network-Attached Storage)
  1. Terrific addition for automating backups – even outside of a dedicated server
  2. Often includes features that make it simple to backup devices such as workstations, servers and mobile devices
Off-Site Cloud Storage
  1. Provides protection against physical/natural disasters
  2. Costs vary
  3. You may already have some options available to you if you use Microsoft or Google suites, ex. Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive

Understanding the scope of pricing will help you figure out the initial investment needed to implement the 3-2-1 of backups for your business, and it is worth noting that the cost associated with preventative measures is far less than the cost associated with disaster recovery.

Developing a strategy for maintaining data is important to the success of your business. Adapting the 3-2-1 of data backup is the base fundamentals for all sizes of organizations across the globe, and the sooner you adopt these or similar principles, the easier and more natural it becomes to mitigate the risk and cost associated with data loss.

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