You Need Three Copies of All of Your Data

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Hello, Crown Clients and Friends!

You’ve likely heard so much about backing up your data over the years that it barely even registers. However, some concepts in data backup have changed slightly over the past few years with the rise in ransomware attacks, personal data leaks, and new technologies to help streamline the process. Properly backing up your data can save you or your organization from losing valuable files by accidental deletion or having a disaster bring your business to a halt. A proper backup solution could even protect you from some kinds of ransomware by making it possible to simply restore your data.

The 3-2-1 Model of Backups

The 3-2-1 model is an effective and easy to remember strategy that suits most organizations’ data security and protection from disaster (both natural and man-made). The strategy is this: three copies of your data, on two different media and one off-site copy.

The first copy of your data is the one that is accessed and/or modified by your company every day. It should be continually updated on an on-site Network Attached Storage device (NAS) that could use RAID or other redundancies to make it safer than a single hard drive. Individual hard drives are vulnerable to a handful of hardware failures and software glitches. Often a failure in one disk means a failure in multiple discs: power interruptions can cause data loss if data is being written to disk at the time, discs that were manufactured at the same time tend to fail around the same time due to manufacturer error, etc. Accidental deletion or data loss due to software problems can happen to anyone.

For this reason, you need a second copy on a medium that isn’t vulnerable to the same failures. A practical way to think of the second copy is a copy on a NAS or solid-state drive that isn’t always in use or is on an entirely different workstation or device. Having this copy somewhat inaccessible from your network and workstations can help keep it secure (by making it harder to overwrite it and keeping it inaccessible to attackers accidentally). Still, it needs backing up regularly enough to have up-to-date data. So the goal with the second copy is to keep an up-to-date, local copy that isn’t quite so easy to overwrite.

The last backup in the 3-2-1 model is an off-site copy. The off-site backup is meant to protect against disasters like fires and theft and is off-site to keep it geographically separate from your other operations, as well as secure from attacks that happen on your network. If you have an off-site data store, then your third copy is not likely to be vulnerable to any of the same dangers of data loss as your first two copies.

Given how much data modern systems use and store, it’s inevitable that some data will be occasionally lost. However, with a proper backup scheme, that data should be recoverable a very high percentage of the time. Of course, there are still dangers that one of the copies could be lost at any time, but a good backup solution can help you get back to work as soon as possible.

-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team

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