March 29, 2019
3-2-1 Rule

By Joanna Ferrell

Data is one of the most important assets a business has. No matter how prepared you are, there are many threats to your infrastructure that can result in data loss:

  • Human Error
  • Viruses and ransomware
  • Hardware/Software failure
  • Natural Disasters, such as a flood or a hurricane

Ensuring your data is backed up is one of the most important things you can do to protect your business. If you think your data is safe without regular backups, go browse Reddit. You can spend hours reading horror stories about companies who experienced data loss.

The 3-2-1 rule

One of the easiest ways to mitigate data loss is to use the 3-2-1 Rule of Backups, created by digital photographer Peter Krough. You should have:

  1. 3 copies of important data (primary + 2 backups)
  2. 2 different types of media types (in the cloud or on a separate dedicated server)
  3. 1 copy offsite or offline

While that is a lot, and it can be expensive to maintain, at the very least, you should keep 3 copies of data and have separation between the data backups. Multiple copies in different locations are the best way to ensure that you will have a copy of your data no matter what.

How often should I back up?

Another aspect of data protection to consider is how often should you be backing up your data. For example, if you back up your business files once a month to two different locations and media types, does that limit your risk? Can your company recover from a month of data loss? You might be able to get away with that in certain industries, but how much better off would your business be if you back up more frequently? A risk analysis should be performed to outweigh the cost of frequent backups vs. data loss as a company’s data needs grow. Most backup advocates recommend backing up daily, but this question will come down to the needs of your business and your customers.

Restoring from a backup

While the 3-2-1 Rule will ensure you have a copy of your data, it important to test your ability to restore from the backup. Best practice is to test frequently, duplicating the environment and all critical applications.

It’s important to test after upgrading firmware, major software, or hardware changes. Many backup solutions can be finicky about which systems they restore to if they are not identical to the hardware the backup was taken from.  It is better to find out about incompatibility during testing than in the middle of an emergency.  Many companies utilize a simulator to practice and test backup solutions for peace of mind.

Back, back, back it up

Companies suffer data loss every day. Your backup strategy will come down to how important your data is to your success, and how much lost data you can tolerate, should the worst occur.

OVHcloud has dedicated storage servers for backup scenarios of all sizes. Check out our servers here and get started with regular offsite backups today.