Data Backup – The Rule of 3

Perhaps I don’t have to explain why we need backups but just in case, its really simple…  Any data you don’t want to lose forever needs to be copied and stored in a safe place.  simple! right? – Well Sort of…

Background

Not that long ago we still had tape backups (DAT, DLT SDLT, LTO to name a few) and in most SMB’s an employee would be tasked with swapping the tapes each day and if they were being good they would also take them home each night.  Why? Well, if the worst happened and the building was razed to the ground then it would be possible to restore the precious company data from a backup tape.  Of course, we learned that tapes were notoriously unreliable, people were even more unreliable and on occasion you might end up with a good working backup from over a week ago.  Additionally, it often took a week to get hardware of a sufficiently similar specification together before you could even read the tape never mind restore a working system.  Even restoring small amounts of data in a non DR situation was slow, but for small and medium companies there really wasn’t much of an alternative.

Fast forward to today’s high capacity hard disks, high speed internet and cloud data centres. The technology situation is remarkably different and significantly more capable and reliable.  But the goalposts have also moved. Now the volume of data is also exponentially larger and the reliance on that data even more so.  Add in malware, cyber attacks and data thefts to the mix which already included hardware failure, malicious actions and user stupidity and the need for a good backup (and recovery) strategy is clear.

The Rule of 3

So by now you are wondering what this has to do with the rule of 3?  Sometimes called the 3-2-1 backup rule it requires that you have:

  • 3 copies of your data – The live working data, on-site copy and an off-site copy.
  • 2 different backup technologies, and
  • 1 (at least) copy off site.

Now remember that some ransomware has evolved to destroy shadow copies, spread to other vulnerable computers and also encrypt data on network drives and you can see the need for both different technologies and off site storage locations.

If you want any further information on our data backup solutions, please give us a call.

 

Written by Graeme Davis

Managing Director at IT Foundations Limited. A successful IT consultancy, system integrator and software developer based in Edinburgh.