The 3-2-1 backup rule

What is 3-2-1 backup rule?


Everyone talks about the pace of change in IT, but something that has not changed is the 3-2-1 backup rule.

These 3 simple rules help you overcome almost any failure scenario….. If you follow them.

What are the rules?

1. Have at least 3 copies of your data

2. Keep the copies on 2 different media

3. Store 1 copy off site

Pretty easy to follow, here is how it works:

1. Have at least 3 copies of your data
Your original data on your Server, Desktop or Laptop plus an additional two copies of the data. This is to reduce the risk factor of multiple device failures, particularly if some of those are at the same physical location.

One copy is good, but just not good enough if you value your data.

2. Keep the copies on 2 different media
Keeping your backups on the same media as your data is not best practise and increases the risk of looking your data. If you backup on the same RAID array as your production data resides, you are at increased risk of losing data if there is a problem with the array.

The 3-2-1 rule suggests using a mixture of media such as internal drives, external drives, tapes, USB drives, etc.

3. Store 1 copy off site
This means as far away as possible. Another City or County would qualify, keeping your external USB or tape backup in the server room (where it would also get damaged in a fire) or IT managers boot (with increased risk of physical damage) would not qualify.

Backing up to a remote branch office or to the cloud would keep your data safe, even in the event of a local disaster on site.

How to follow the rules?

There are many ways to address this problem and each scenario may be slightly different. Windows Hyper-V offers replication of virtual machines that addresses different media types, creating an automated backup jobs using software to manage your copies and off site storage is another way.

If you need help setting up your 3-2-1 compliant backup solution, please contact us, we would be happy to assist you.

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