Why You Need to Adopt the 3-2-1 Backup Rule to Prevent Catastrophic Data Loss

Just about everyone in this digital age has experienced some type of data loss. Whether it was losing a year’s worth of vacation photos thanks to a glitch in your iCloud account or having all your client files wiped out due to a hard drive crash, data loss can be devastating.

Backing up our data is something we all know we should do, but unfortunately, it often takes catastrophic data loss to remind us just how important having a strong (and regularly tested) data backup and recovery policy is.

7 out of 10 small businesses that suffer major data loss, end up going out of business within a year.

Most of our files (aka company assets) are now in digital format, which makes the loss of that data particularly dangerous. Data loss often causes smaller companies to go out of business entirely if they don’t have backups to rely on.

How does data loss typically occur?

There are a number of different ways data loss can happen, and IT professionals say laptops and mobile devices are an increasing method of potential data loss because they’re more apt to be lost, damaged, or stolen. They also aren’t always included in data backup plans, especially if a company is using a BYOD (bring your own device) mobile policy.

Statistics show that the most common ways that data loss occurs are, as cited by IT professionals:

  • Ransomware (42%)
  • Hardware/system failure (31%)
  • Human error (29%)
  • Virus/Malware (29%)

A few other ways that data can be lost include:

  • Natural or manmade disasters (flood, fire, tornado, etc.)
  • Theft
  • Lost device

Something as simple as a coffee spill on a laptop or as malicious as a ransomware attack can happen at anytime without warning, which is why the adoption of what’s known as the 3-2-1 Backup Rule is vital to helping you ensure that your files will be safe no matter what happens.

What is the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?

The 3-2-1 Backup Rule is designed to keep all your bases covered when it comes to backups. It also protects you from relying on a single backup that could potentially fail and leave you at a loss.

Did you know? The average failure rate for backing up all company data is 75%.

The scenario happens all too often is that a person starts a backup and then never monitors it. What ends up happening is that they only find out much later, usually when they need data restored urgently, that something has gone wrong and the backup wasn’t working as planned.

The 3-2-1 Backup Rule protects against common backup problems by ensuring you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your data storage.

(3): Store Three Copies of All Your Data

The first mandate of the rule is to store three copies of all your data, which ensures that if one backup goes wrong, you still have another to rely on.

While three copies might seem like a lot, when you consider that one copy is the one stored on your hard drive or server when you create the file, that really means that you’re only creating two additional backup copies of your data.

(2): Ensure at Least Two Copies are on Different Storage Media

The second tenant of the rule is to make sure you’re not storing all your copies on the same type of storage media. For example, if you keep all your data and backups in the cloud, that can mean you’re without critical files in the event of a power or internet outage.

You also don’t want to keep all three copies of your data on the same server, otherwise you could lose everything should it crash or be infected with ransomware.

(1): Keep at Least One Copy of Your Data Off Site

The last part of the 3-2-1 backup rule is to keep at least one of those three data copies off site to ensure business continuity should anything happen at your office. If you’re storing all your computers and backups at your physical office, something like a fire could leave you devastated and at a total loss.

Having one of your data copies as a cloud-based backup is smart, and a way to ensure you can easily restore your data to any device at any location if needed.

Additional Smart Backup Tips

In addition to adopting the 3-2-1 Backup Rule, there are two other tips that can help you protect your data and ensure you’re prepared for anything.

Monitor Your Backups

Backup monitoring services ensure that a backup doesn’t get stuck and fail leaving you without copies of your more recent data. It can also make it easy to administer backups across multiple workstations, servers, and mobile devices smoothly.

Backup Cloud Services

A common mistake companies make is to not backup their data that’s contained in services like Office 365. It’s important to include cloud-based programs in your back up plans and not be completely reliant on that one provider (who could have an outage) for your important data files.

Get Help with Monitored Backups

Unbound Digital’s Managed Services Plans include managed backup, which means our staff keeps a watchful eye on your data backups to ensure your files are there when you need them.

Learn more and sign up today by calling 423-335-2461 or contacting us online.

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