What Is the 3-2-1 Rule for Backing Up Data?

Backing up data is a major concern not only for heavy businesses but also for individuals. We all have lost some data at one point in our lives or another and the heartbreak that follows after data loss is indescribable.  

With everything going digital, it is important to have a full-proof backup for all our files. One such method is the 3-2-1 rule of backing up data. This method has been time-tested and is used by corporations for a long. An effective way to make sure the years and months of hard work and memories do not get lost in a few minutes, this rule is essential for individuals as well as for businesses.

What is this Rule?

So what is this rule? The 3-2-1 rule simply breaks down to having (3) copies of any data saved on a minimum of (2) different devices with (1) copy saved at an off-site location.  And like any plan, however, well-conceived in theory, is only as good as its implementation, let’s talk in detail why you should follow through with this rule and how:

Why Should follow Through with this Rule and How

3 Copies of Data

It goes without saying that the risks are massively minimized if you have more than one copy of your precious data. Not only can your data suffer because of external threats like theft, accidents, disasters, fire, and so on but also because of internal threats such as virus and malware or hardware failure.

It is imperative that you have several copies of your data (at least three) across different devices and across different physical locations. The diversity in data storage and multiple copies make sure that your data does not get lost easily. The recommended amount is three copies that include two backups and one main production copy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that all the copies should have the same version of your data. It would not be useful to have different versions of data stored in three places; it would simply defeat the purpose of backup. You can surely create backups at several points while working on your main data but in order to have a full-proof backup, all the copies should have the same version so that there is no loss whatsoever.

2 Different Storage Mediums

Another part of the rule is to have those three copies stored on two different storage mediums.  This makes a lot of sense, considering the same type of storage medium can have the same kind of failure and possibly at the same time.

For instance, if all of your data is stored on hard disks, then any failure or theft could result in the loss of entire data. Similarly, if you save multiple copies on the same could storage then any failure in the cloud space could result in the loss of all your data copies.

Therefore, it is advisable to always go for two different storage mediums. If you are keeping one copy in a cloud space then you could keep other copies on something like Infinity Kloud USB drives. Infiniti Kloud is an amazing device that gives you the amalgamation of both flash drives and cloud storage which you can even access without the internet. Visit https://theviraltech.com/infinitikloud-review/ to know more.

Read More: How to protect Kids privacy online?

1 off-site Storage

Now you have several copies, stored at two different storage mediums and you are satisfied with the backup. But what if disasters like floods and fires occur? All the data will be lost no matter how many copies and how many mediums unless you have a copy at an off-site location.

This is the last step in the 3-2-1 backup rule and makes the entire plan full-proof. Keeping one copy at a different physical location is imperative because you do not think disasters can occur until they do. However, impractical this step might seem, with the increase in technology, it is not difficult to have a convenient off-site storage option available.

Cloud storage services are a great way to start keeping an off-site copy. And if your primary storage medium is the cloud itself then you can use geo-replication to have the copy in different regions.  Cloud storage is becoming increasingly popular because it does not require any physical infrastructure.  Big businesses do not have to incur an additional cost of saving data on huge tapes at another location.


Diversity is the backbone of the 3-2-1 rule for backing up data. Diversify as much as you can if you want to minimize the risks. If you are meeting each step of the 3-2-1 rule of backup, then it is highly unlikely that you will ever suffer from data loss. No wonder, this method has been time-tested and been proven the best among all the other data-saving practices. You will come across this rule while talking to any professional IT person, but this time you will not wonder what the 3-2-1 backup rule means, because you would have been practicing it yourself!

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