You may have heard of the 3-2-1 backup strategy. But you need to count higher than three to really have a solid backup solution.

Are 3-2-1 Backups Done?

The 3-2-1 strategy is shorthand for an approach to backups that includes the following:

3 total copies of your data (or more). This includes the copy that you work from in production, so it means making at least two backups of your data.

2 different mediums. In other words, don’t rely on a single technology to secure your data. One medium may be the hard drive used in production; keep your backup on a different technology, possibly in the cloud.

1 copy offsite. You need one backup copy that’s immediately accessible; a second copy should be outside your primary data center so data’s available even if the data center is a total loss. Today, you can backup to the cloud to achieve both objectives.

Count to 5, 7, or 10 for Complete Backup Planning

If you’ve only got three seconds to spare for developing your backup plan, 3-2-1 is a good approach. But given the importance of backups to ensuring your business can continue to function, you should plan to keep on counting. There are many other factors you should consider when developing your backup strategy; here are a few:

Backup type. Full backups are time consuming; incremental backups are faster to create but slower to restore. A good backup strategy will make sure you don’t contribute to downtime either backing up or recovering.

Backup frequency. A daily end of day backup is generally the bare minimum; it means if you lose data at 5:01pm today, you’ll lose a full day’s work. For critical applications, you’ll want to backup more frequently. There may be some systems with very few data updates where you can backup less often.

Restore time. We alluded to backup speed up above; the speed of the restore is also an important factor to consider. The type of backup you create will affect this; so will the medium you store the backup on and whether it’s in the cloud or your data center.

Backup cost. You’ll need to invest in a backup solution as well as operations time. In addition, backup to cloud may impose costs related to moving data—moving data into cloud is often free, but moving it back out of cloud often generates charges. Of course, you’ll want to keep your backup expenditures low, but need to balance those costs against the potential costs of a loss of data.

Backup sources. We generally focus on the desktop, data center, and the cloud when we think of data that needs to be backed up, but remember, employees work on laptops, home computers, and mobile devices, too. Is there any important data on those devices that should be backed up?

Backup security. Backups contain all your key corporate data, and they need to be as secure as your production systems. Security may be a particular concern if you’re storing backups offsite or in the cloud.

VAST IT Services can help you think through all the critical factors and go beyond a simple 3-2-1 countdown to create a business continuity strategy that truly protects your data and your business. Contact us to start counting.

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