Published On: Jan 12, 2024Tags:

Make Sure Your Data is Safe and Retrievable: Following the 3-2-1 Method

10-100 | IT Support, Services & IT Consultancy in Milton Keynes

User error, cyber attacks, and general IT glitches are some of the most common causes of vital data loss for both companies and individuals alike. One mistake can cause hours, or even years, of data to be wiped within seconds; this is why reliable data backup practices are some of the most important habits to develop when dealing with digital data.

For the last two decades, professionals have come to rely on the “3-2-1” method of data backups. It is a straightforward approach that helps ensure data resilience and recovery in case of data loss or disasters. The 3-2-1 backup method consists of the following:

  1. Keep 3 Copies of Data: Maintain at least three copies of your data. This includes the original data on your primary device or server and two additional data copies. Having multiple copies provides a safety net, reducing the risk of data loss should one or two sources fail or otherwise have their integrity compromised.

  2. On 2 Different Media: Store these copies on at least two different types of media or devices in two different storage locations. For example, you might have one copy on your local hard drive and another on an external hard drive or network-attached storage (NAS). Using different media types helps protect against failures that may affect a particular storage technology or an incident that affects the structure of the device.

  3. With 1 Off-Site Copy: Keep one of the backup copies off-site. This means storing a copy in a different physical location, away from the primary data and the first backup. This off-site copy is crucial in case of disasters like fire, flood, theft, or any event that could affect both the primary data and the local backup. These off-site copies are also usually best employed if they are air-gapped or managed by a service that keeps historical copies of data backups. Ransomware and viruses have a more difficult time affecting data security when using backup management services that aren’t connected to live networks.

What All Does the 3-2-1 Method Protect?

The 3-2-1 Method ensures that you’ll always have a fallback on data in the event your first or second source is corrupted, hacked, or damaged. There are several reasons why multiple backups are a safer solution, including:

  1. Protection Against Local Disasters: Storing at least one copy off-site safeguards your data from local disasters, such as fires, floods, or theft, which could affect both the original data and the local backup.

  2. Versatility: Using different media types for backups increases your ability to recover data in various scenarios. If one medium fails, you still have another copy on a different medium.

  3. Data Security: By having an off-site copy, you reduce the risk of data loss due to security breaches or cyberattacks, which could compromise your primary data and local backups.

  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing that your data is protected through this method gives you peace of mind. You can recover important information when needed, even in the face of unexpected events.

  5. Flexibility for Backup Solutions: While keeping two physical copies is essential for many users dealing with smaller amounts of data, there are various services that also offer secure digital storage for backups. 10-100 Consultancy specializes in offering these various solutions through a combination of Veeam as a service, as well as our own remote-hosting capabilities.

Overall, the 3-2-1 backup method is a practical and effective approach to data protection, ensuring that your data remains accessible and recoverable in various situations, from minor data mishaps to major disasters. It’s a best practice for individuals and businesses alike. If you’re interested in expanding the security of your backup services, you can get more information by getting in touch with one of our IT experts today either by calling us on 01908 087000 or sending an email to