3-2-1 Backup Rule is Best Baseline for Your Data Protection Plan

By VaultTek | December 19, 2022

It’s not if a data disaster may happen, it’s when, and protecting and securing the information that define our lives has never been more important. Having a resilient data backup and disaster plan can mitigate some of the damaging effects of a data loss emergency. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the U.S. government recommends a 3-2-1 backup strategy as a best-practice baseline to keeping your data safe.[i]

What is the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?

The 3-2-1 backup rule is a commonly used data protection strategy that multiplies the number of backups you keep and expands the number of locations where your digital record backups are stored. The rule states that you should have:

  • 3 – At least three copies of your data
  • 2 – Two of the backups should be stored on different types of media
  • 1 – And at least one backup should be stored offsite or in the cloud

When it comes to data storage there is an oft-quoted adage that “Any data not stored in at least three distinct locations ought to be considered temporary.”  Though the origin of the sentiment isn’t known, the spirit of it is the same premise as the 3-2-1 backup rule’s objective to have redundant backups in multiple places if any one backup fails or is compromised.

How Does a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy Work?

To implement a 3-2-1 backup strategy follow these basic guidelines:

  • You should have three distinct copies of your data. Maintaining multiple copies of your records means you are not dependent on one single source for recovery needs. If your records are damaged or lost, you still possess other means of recovery from your alternate sources.
  • Having your data backed up and protected in multiple locations can ease recovery if a data loss event occurs.
  • At least one copy of your digital records should be stored off-site and away from the office or location of the original data. Increasing the number of backups and diversifying the type and locations of your backup copies assures your data is available when you need it allowing for increased recovery time and operational continuity.

Additional 3-2-1 Backup Rule Strategies

The 3-2-1 backup rule is a baseline guide, not a fixed set of rules that is one-size-fits-all. Building a proactive backup strategy sometimes requires adjustments to fit the needs of your organization and the records you want to protect. Strategic suggestions for a successful plan include:

Different Devices: If copies are kept on the same system or hardware device and there is damage or worse, both copies are at risk of data loss. For increased digital records protection, keep backup copies on separate devices that are not connected through a shared system.

Ease of Use: Data backup should be simple, secure, and efficient.

Offline Copy: One copy of your data backup should be secured offline as a protective measure against ransomware or other malware event.

Off-site/Geographic Locations: Should a disaster impact your on-site location or region, backups stored within or near the same locality increases the risk of all sets of digital records being compromised. Utilizing diverse geographic locations for off-site backups mitigates locality risks and provides even more layers of protection.

Proactive Planning: Having a crisis response plan in place empowers you to act decisively and recover quicker. 

Security: Security should be embedded into your backup process, helping to ensure protection from attackers at every stage.

Speed to Recovery: To increase your data protection further, have an onsite backup system as your first layer of records protection and the quickest data recovery when needed.

3-2-1 Backup Rule the VaultTek Way

At VaultTek, our vault-tight data protection solution is founded on the principles of the 3-2-1 backup rule. We provide a triple-redundant backup system with three layers of defense: one on-site backup utilizing Tekmate, a purpose-built backup appliance configured for your location and two additional off-site backups saved at separate and uniquely geographic U.S.-based data centers.

Our proven data protection services are backed up with accessible personalized service that empowers you with confidence that your data is secure and ready when you need it. Our dedicated experts are proactive and dependable, offering clear answers and help. When disaster strikes, recovery begins quickly with assistance from your dedicated expert to guide you through the recovery process.