How can I backup my data?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by Tilly Holland


Having a comprehensive backup strategy is essential in today’s IT world. With so many ways for data to be lost, understanding how to backup your data successfully is critical to ensure you don’t face an uncomfortable situation. So, how can you backup your data?

Data loss

Cyberattacks, rogue employees, natural disasters, media damage, and human error are just a few ways you can lose your data. Losing data may be annoying and heartbreaking for individuals, but for organizations, the repercussions can be irreversible. Take a look below at some of these frightening figures from Consoltech.

  • 94% of companies that experience severe data loss do not recover
  • 51% of these companies close within two years of the data loss
  • 43% of these companies do not reopen again
  • 70% of small firms go out of business within a year of a large data loss incident

Scary figures, right?! With the cost of data loss, especially for organizations, so high, ensuring you have a proper backup strategy should be non-negotiable. The preparation and implementation of such a strategy are also crucial to ensure the safety of your data. Neglecting your backup for some time can be just as bad as not having one at all!

How do you create a backup strategy?

The 3-2-1 backup rule is a viable backup strategy that is practical and ensures data security. Here’s how it works:

  • Your data should be stored 3 times: One is your live/production data, the other two are backups to provide redundancy.
  • You should use 2 different technologies for your backups. There are plenty of media types available depending on your needs: NAS, external hard drives, flash memory, magnetic tapes, the cloud, etc.
  • Always keep 1 of these backups outside of your location or company premises.

 Why does this work?

3: Storing the same data three times statistically minimizes the chances of data loss. Suppose you save your data to drive 1 and the backup to drive 2. If the failure probability of drive 1 and drive 2 is 1/100 the probability of simultaneous failure of both drives is 1/100 x 1/100 = 1 / 10,000. With three backups, the probability decreases to one in a million.

 2: Using two different data storage technologies further reduces the probability of data loss occurring. It is not uncommon for two devices from the same batch and usage to have a similar lifespan – for example, light bulbs in your home or spark plugs in a car. With  RAID systems, it is also common for multiple drives to fail one after the other when running in a degraded state.

 1: Keeping a backup in at least one other location is always recommended. This way, if there is a flood, fire, theft or cyber-attack, not all backups will be lost. Keeping a backup in a secure safe, in the cloud or at another office will protect them from complete damage and loss should something go wrong.

To conclude...

By following a backup strategy like the 3-2-1 backup rule, you are taking a step in the right direction. However, it’s important to action it immediately, especially if you’ve identified any potential weak points in your current method. Even performing a simple backup to an external hard drive will provide some form of security while you formulate a more comprehensive strategy.

How you do back up your data? What different types of media do you use and why? Let us know by tweeting @OntrackUS

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