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The 3-2-1 rule can rescue your business data

Avoid disaster by ensuring your valuable data is backed up the right way.

Pixar almost lost the movie Toy Story 2 because of failed backups. Stress-inducing situations like this can actually still occur. Thankfully for Pixar and movie lovers, an employee had saved a third copy of the film offsite on her home computer, and countless hours of work was rescued.

Backup systems archive and secure your data, while disaster recovery ensures business continuity. That means, in the event of a disaster — which could be anything from equipment failure to a flood or fire or even a cyberattack — you still have access to your data, and you can access it ASAP.

While most businesses have some form of backup — usually tape, USB or disk drives — there is an easier and more efficient way — true automated offsite backup. And that means following the 3-2-1 rule.

How the 3-2-1 rule works

Maybe you’re wondering how many backup files you really need, and where exactly you should store them. Just follow 3-2-1 to protect your business data…

Have at least three copies of data:

In addition to your production data, you should have at least two backups, particularly if your production data and primary backup are stored in the same physical location. That may sound unnecessary, but a physical backup (such as tape) can easily go missing. Or, as in Pixar’s case, the primary backup could fail.

Store backups on two different types of media:

If one fails or goes missing, you’re in trouble — unless you have a backup of your backup, whether that’s internal hard disk drives, removable storage media or cloud-based backup.

Keep one copy offsite:

Local backup is great for quick recovery, but you’ll be in trouble if there is a theft or natural disaster. If your only backup is in the same room as your production data, your backup is gone.

“The three copies of your data would be your production environment, local backup and offsite backup,” says Sherry Ruddock, Cloud Solutions Specialist at Epic, an MTS company that specializes in cloud and IT services. “The two media types would be local storage and external storage. And, of course, one would be offsite.”

A worry-free backup

Getting backups offsite can be challenging, thanks to increasing data volumes, limited bandwidth and lack of resources to build a true offsite backup repository. If you don’t have a remote or branch office (or even if you do), backing up to the cloud is a straightforward, cost-effective option to consider — and it conveniently covers off all three points of the 3-2-1 rule.

       Related: How cloud services can recover business data in 15 minutes         

It’s important to work with a cloud provider to determine how you’ll get your backups to the cloud, and how quickly you can recover those backups if needed.

Epic Veeam Cloud recovery and backup“We offer Veeam Backup and Replication Software if you want to do everything in-house, but you can also use Epic’s Veeam Cloud Connect services, where your data is protected in the secure MTS Data Centres facility where Epic manages the cloud infrastructure,” she says.

Protecting your business

Cloud-based backup and replication services offer a cost-effective way to store and recover your data, regardless of where you’re located. And it means you won’t have the financial and administrative burden of duplicating your IT systems, making it an alternative for small and mid-sized businesses.

With Veeam Cloud Connect, you get hosted offsite backups, visibility and control, and a modern backup architecture. Veeam is installed onsite, configured to backup both locally (for restores) and offsite to Epic’s cloud infrastructure located at the MTS Data Centres via a secure SSL connection.

That means you can master the 3-2-1 rule — without having to spend money and resources on a second site, with all the benefits of a speedy recovery.


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Vawn Himmelsbach

Vawn Himmelsbach is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. She has covered technology and travel for 15 years, for media outlets such as, The Globe & Mail, Metro News, ITBusiness, PCworld Canada and Computerworld Canada. She also spent three years living abroad and working as an Asian correspondent.

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