Why Your Office Should Be Using the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy


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Most people understand the importance of backing up their data, especially if they’ve lost photos or files in the past. But with the advent of cloud-computing applications like Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), there’s a false perception going around that a backup isn’t needed, and the cloud is doing it all for them.

While a cloud-based program does offer a limited protection from losing files by storing them on an off-site system, it’s not designed for full backup and recovery of all your files, folders, and other device data.

And it doesn’t follow the important “3-2-1 Rule” of backups, which is this:

  • Keep at least copies of your data
  • Store backup copies on different storage media
  • Ensure 1 of those storage platforms is offsite

Our Twin State Technical Services team is passionate about providing comprehensive IT, cybersecurity, and business continuity solutions to companies in the Quad Cities area. We help companies minimize their risks from a data loss incident (whether from a crash or breach) with a 3-2-1 backup strategy that ensures their data is easily recovered.

In some cases, a proper backup may be the only thing keeping you from major data loss that could significantly hurt your business for years. Let’s discuss why cloud platforms don’t eliminate the need for a proper backup and dig deeper into what good backup strategies look like.

Isn’t My Cloud Program Backing Everything Up?

In short, no. While programs like Offce365, QuickBooks online, and Salesforce, do save your data on their cloud-based servers, this is limited only to the information that’s being stored in that particular program, and it has limitations.

For example:

If you’re using Exchange Online for your Outlook email, if you’ve accidentally deleted a subfolder, the deleted item is kept only for 14 days by default and can only be modified to a maximum of 30 days of retention.

Recovery is another big concern if you’re relying on a cloud-based platform. Recovery goes hand-in-hand with backing up your data because the reason you’re backing it up is so it can be easily restored in the case of a data loss incident. A cloud-computing platform that’s not specifically dedicated to backup and recovery isn’t going to give you the recovery functionality you need.

For example, Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) users have discovered that Microsoft’s backup policies can’t guarantee a complete and fast recovery of lost data. Their retention policies also differ according to each software and can make a recovery process long and complicated.

What about storage programs like OneDrive?

While OneDrive is useful as a storage tool and has great keyword search functionality, it also can have issues with properly syncing data, a limited recycle bin retention period, and inability to do a file-by-file rollback, you either have to do all or none.

There is also a big difference between a file-by-file backup, which is similar to the old method of storing important files on a DVD, and a full system backup. If you’re just dragging files into an online storage system, it’s not going to completely restore your computer as a whole should it crash.

A full system backup would be when you use your device’s backup system (like Time Machine on a Mac) with an external hard drive. It backs ups your entire device (programs, files, settings) so they can be fully restored to another computer if needed.

And again, it comes back to the 3-2-1 rule, the first one being to keep three copies of all your data. Which a cloud-system isn’t doing.

So, let’s dig into that important backup rule next.

Using the 3-2-1 Backup Rule to Keep Your Office Protected

Proper backup and recovery aren’t just about protecting your data, it’s about protecting your business.

Data loss can be devastating to businesses in multiple ways, beyond the initial cost of recreating lost data, a data breach can cause loss of customer trust and business for years to come.

It’s estimated that it costs companies $141 per each lost record.

Multiply that by even just 1,000 records and that’s a whopping $141,000. And of course, most companies have many more files that.

Putting the 3-2-1 Rule into Action

Keep at least 3 copies of your data: Keeping multiple copies of your data ensures if one or even two systems fail, you can still recover your information. One of these would be your computer’s hard drive in most cases, and rule 2 addresses the others.

Store 2 backup copies on different storage media: For two of those data backups, you want to make sure they’re being stored on different storage media. For example, you don’t want to simply have two different flash drives and count them as both your backup copies. Rule 1 addresses where the 2nd storage media should be.

Ensure 1 of those storage platforms is offsite: If all your backups are contained onsite at your office, that means in the event of a theft, fire, or other natural disasters, not only your computer, but all the backup copies of your data would be gone too. Cloud storage is an excellent option for offsite backup and recovery.

Get Reliable Backup and Recovery Solutions from Twin State Technical Services

Don’t leave your business open to a major data loss incident. We offer affordable and reliable local, off-site, and cloud backup solutions.

Contact Twin State Technical Services at 563-441-1504 or online today.

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