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Data Protection: It’s as easy as 3, 2, 1…


Data loss is a universal problem.

Data loss happens every day, all day. Imagine a counter that keeps climbing and climbing, tallying the sheer amount of data that is lost daily. The numerical size of that would be unimaginable!

If you’re storing any amount of significant volume or in possession of data that you rely on heavily – for whatever reason – it might be time to start thinking about keeping your data appropriately safe and secure.

In this blog, we hope, will get you thinking about that very thing.

By having your data backed up properly and by having the necessary strategies in place to do so, you’re practically guaranteeing that your day-to-day operations are not severely impacted in the event of data loss.

Aside from the obvious implications of data loss without a plan in place, backing up your data is important because it’s just a smart practice. Calculating for data loss is something we tend to take for granted and don’t think about unless it directly affects our workflow. It’s only when we lose data that we begin to panic over how we’re going to retrieve it.

In a recent article by Acronis, 1 in 10 people do not back up their data or devices. Moreover, 79% of IT users have had to spend upwards of 12 hours trying to recover from the data loss due to the lack of backups just mentioned. Permanent data loss is also on the rise. The article further states that there has been a 7% increase of that happening within the last year.

Those are some powerful statistics. And that’s only a small part of the bigger picture.

Why and how should you back up your data?

Although it can depend on your use case, backups should occur at regular intervals. If not daily, then at least weekly. By doing regular backups, you protect yourself from data loss due to unexpected predicaments like natural disasters, ransomware, cyberattacks, crypto locker, human error, and hardware theft. Plus, many more.

Even as a data storage company, we’re not immune to data loss. We had a malicious incident that occurred at our office several years ago. It’s an embarrassing story for us to talk about publicly, but it merits retelling.

Here at 45Drives, we were the victims of a crypto locker attack. Our data was encrypted and held at ransom—essentially halting our business operations for several days.

When this happened, it forced us to think about the data protection strategies that we had in place and the importance of having them to begin with. After this occurred and we managed to restore our data, we put our heads down and worked hard to ensure that our digital assets were better protected.

Certain strategies will be more advantageous for some individuals and/or organizations, while others will not. There is no single plan that works best. Nor is anyone’s formula absolute.

The types of data you’re storing, the retention policies you need to adhere to, and other variables like file sizes, file sensitivity, and the methods available to you in your storage architecture can all play a part in determining the right strategy for you.

However, there is a long-standing data backup method known as “3 2 1” in saying all of that.

It’s simple, and it’s effective; therefore, making it a great starting point for many use cases. You may have heard about it before, but if you didn’t, you came to the right place.

The 3 2 1 Method for Data Backup

The 3 2 1 method for data backup is simple in theory and in practice.

This method is not only easy to remember, but it’s a very straightforward and effective way to ensure your data is backed up properly. It’s also not difficult to remember.

There are schools of thought that suggest this method is somewhat outdated. And we’re not implying it will work for everyone out there, but it is a solid foundation that you can build from and upon, especially if you don’t have one in place right now.

So, what does 3 2 1 mean? Well, let’s break it down.

Starting first with ‘3’.

It means having three separate copies of your data.

Of these copies, one is your primary copy, and the other two are backup copies. Ideally, each of them is from a different period of time. Certainly, though, by having more than three copies, you’re protecting your data even further.

Maintaining three copies is a good place to start, though, and these will provide sufficient security to ensure that you don’t lose all of your data.

Next is ‘2’.

This means of those [minimum] three backup copies we just talked about, each is housed on two separate units or pieces of media. It’s not enough to have those copies on the same machine or server.

Put it this way: If you only had the three of your data on the same unit, and you then lost that unit due to theft or an unexpected accident? You have then lost everything. All of your data is gone.

By keeping those backup copies on two different media – if you lose one or if one fails – you still have the other piece to fall back on.

Finally, ‘1.’

The last number of this equation refers to external locations.

In other words, if you are following this rule for data backup, you should also keep one piece of media/device at an off-site location. Somewhere that is different than your main office, i.e., in a different physical location than your current one.

By keeping this piece of media in another location away from the data (and its copies), you’re ensuring that you always have an alternate available. This gives you the ultimate peace of mind if you lose the primary media/device for whatever reason.

Is 3-2-1 the answer for data backup?

We’re not saying it is. We’re not even suggesting that it’s the best method out there.

Data storage and data backup plans are not meant to be cookie-cutter. They will vary by context and application. Like we mentioned earlier, variables such as the types of files being stored and the retention policies you need to follow might carve out a different path for you.

There’s no such thing as the perfect plan or strategy.

But again, for those who do not have any plans in place, or for those whose current ones aren’t as failproof as, perhaps, previously assumed, the 3 2 1 method is fundamental enough. From there, you can continue to improve and grow your data backup infrastructure.

Our clustered solutions provide high availability, infinite scalability, and automatic self-healing and self-balancing when either re-distributing data or in the event of an OSD or server failure. With a clustered solution, your data is always available and always safe. Long associated with large datasets, clustering can also be used for smaller amounts too. We even have front-loading servers that are affordable and high-performing but are tailored for those who don’t need a huge amount of storage.

If you’re thinking about clustering, Geo-Replication can also help with disaster recovery.

Please reach out to our sales team if you have any questions regarding 45Drives and how we can help with all things data-related. We’d love to chat with you.

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