3-2-1 Backup Rule: The Three Steps of Planning Data Keeping

3-2-1 backup strategy is one of the best-known methods to copy data backups. The principles of 3-2-1 backup are quite simple and perfectly useful in almost any situation:

  • Making at least 3 copies of data, located on physically different storage media;
  • Keeping these copies in no less than 2 different formats;
  • Always store at least 1 of these backups off-site (e.g. on the commercial cloud account).

The simple considerations, applied strictly for any backup task as a part of a “3-2-1 backup plan”, may save a day for many system administrators or expert PC users.


Explanation of Terms

To help user deeply understanding the 3-2-1 backup strategy, let us explain the terms of this strategy a bit more deep.


The Three Copies

Creating three or more data copies on different storage devices reduces the risk of perils typical for any such device. E.g., hardware failure can destroy the hard disk but not a cloud account; the network mishap can stop transferring backup data online but not copying from the local disk, and so on.


The Two Formats

The term “format” is for physically different representations of data, not just for logical layouts. If you are keeping one copy in the form of hard disk data, make at least one other copy on FTP, or on the tape, or place it to the cloud service. The reasons are same; it protect data from storage-specific perils.


The One Offsite Copy

The last principle of 3-2-1 backup rule is keeping one or more backups off-site, i.e. not in the same room/building than the original. Therefore, if the original and local copies will be physically destroyed (by the theft, the fire, the war, the quake or by any other force), at least one data copy will be saved.

Note: Nowadays, the most convenient offsite storage is a commercial cloud. You can use Amazon S3, a commercial cloud such as Dropbox or Google Drive, or keep your data in a specialized backup storage called HBdrive when using Handy Backup for 3-2-1 backup.

Implementing this server backup strategy, you can feel safe about security of your data. All you need to try 3-2-1 rule for backup right now is download Handy Backup.

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