It’s Time to Put Aside the 3-2-1 Backup Rule 

As a business leader, you probably already know that having a backup policy is critical to the continuity and future success of your business. But which backup rule is right for your business?  In the not-so-distant past, the 3-2-1 Backup Rule stood as the gold standard of best practices. Today, that rule is being questioned. Instead the 3-1-2 or 3-2-2 Backup Rule is taking its place. Let’s take a look at these methods, define them, and see why multiple off-site backups are  dominating the IT world as we move forward into a more cloud based business world.

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What is 3-2-1 Backup? 

According to StorageCraft, we have photographer Peter Krogh to thank for the original 3-2-1  Backup strategy that many organizations employ today. In 2009 Krogh discussed the strategy in his book, The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers His strategy has helped countless companies deal with data loss due to internal or external issues. However, over the last 12 years, the IT world has evolved dramatically. That means the types of backup strategies should also change.  The 3-2-1 Backup Rule entails keeping three backups of your data, with two of those stored copies kept on separate media. Of those two stored copies, at least one additional copy should be stored at an offsite location. 

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How is the 3-1-2 Backup Rule Different? 

The original 3-2-1 Backup Rule was a time-honored backup strategy for years. According to Unitrends online, “3-2-1 backup strategy simply states that you should have 3 copies of your data (your production data and 2 backup copies) on two different media (disk and tape) with one copy off-site for disaster recovery.” The key part of this strategy is the one piece of data copy is taken off-site, in the past it was commonly a taped copy. Taking one media copy off site was advanced for the time, however, was also limited by the technology.  Currently, as cloud-based companies evolve, the off-site option has switched from a physical backup to a cloud-based one. A second off-site copy of critical business data affords companies a peace of mind that data is secure in two locations outside of the physical office.  Here at Spectra, we are strong believers in the revered 3-1-2 Backup Rule. This rule is a proven way to ensure the integrity of your data should a disaster occur. At all times we keep three backup copies including one on-site to physical media and two cloud copies, one to our secure datacenter and another to our third-party cloud storage. For example, in our backup strategy, there is a local backup copy onsite for quick local recovery, the backup is replicated to our datacenter, then we replicate our copy to a long term storage repository such as object storage. For more information about organizations transitioning to 3-1-2 or 3-2-2 Backup strategies here are a few interesting articles to read: Why 3-2-1 Backup Sucks, and It’s Time To Move Past Traditional 3-2-1 Backup