Backups are a very important part of any information technology recovery plan.  No matter how hard you work at securing your network and devices, sometimes the worst can happen.  Your network or devices may become hacked due to a zero-day exploit, or they could be completely destroyed by a physical threat or disaster.  The only way to recover from a complete loss of data is by restoring a backup.

3-2-1 Backups

The best strategy for backing up your data is known as “3-2-1”.  What does “3-2-1” stand for?

3- Have at least copies of your data

2- Keep your backups on at least different media

1- Store 1 backup of your data off site

What does all this mean?

3- Having copies of your data means data on the system’s hard drive, an external or secondary drive, and a third device or media which is off site.  This is important in case your entire primary location is destroyed (fire or flood), in which case both your primary device and external drive would be destroyed.  Without the third backup off site you would still lose everything.

2- Keeping your backups on at least different media is important in case your primary media fails.  Hard drives are complicated pieces of moving machinery, and are known to sometimes fail in succession. Keeping your second backup on a different type of media (encrypted cloud storage) ensures that you won’t lose your data in the case of a bad batch of drives or physical damage to multiple drives.

1- Storing 1 backup off site in a distant location means your data will be safe in the case of a large natural disaster.  Even if your entire county is affected by something like a flood or hurricane, your data is stored safely in a place far away from your physical location.

So, what types of backup services and devices should I use?

For home users running Windows or Mac, I recommend Carbonite online backup. Carbonite continuously backs up your data to the Carbonite servers through an encrypted connection. It also has the capability to use an external hard drive for backup, making it an easy all-in-one 3-2-1 solution for most users.

For business and Linux users I recommend Cloudberry backup. Cloudberry supports both external hard drive backup and encrypted cloud backup, and also supports a vast number of providers and backup options.

When backing up to a cloud provider it is extremely important that your connection to the provider be encrypted.  For the highest level of security make sure your data is encrypted before it’s transmitted over the internet.  Cloudberry is easily configured for this, but Carbonite requires a little more complex configuration for the highest level of security. Enabling pre-internet-encryption also means you won’t have access to some of Carbonite’s more convenient features like instant web browser based file access.

No matter which options you choose for your backup solution, go with the 3-2-1 method to make sure that you never lose your important data!