Backups with the 3-2-1 rule

A simple rule I’ve learnt over time, with backups.

3 Backup copies of anything you want to keep.
2 different storage media.
1 offsite storage site.

3
There have been times when I’ve gone to grab a file from backup, and “Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”, it’s missing/corrupted.
With 3 copies, you greatly improve your chances of recovery.  You’re going to make 2 copies anyway, because …

2
Different storage media types means CD/DVD and/or Disk and/or Tape Online Backup and/or Online Backup.
Because.
Because one of those media types will fail on you.

  • CD/DVD – I’ve seen “archival” quality CD/DVD media “bubble”., rendering the disc unreadable.
  • Disk to Disk – my favourite method, but hard drives have been known to fail regularly, aka the IBM “Deathstar” saga.
  • Tape – Does anyone use tape for home backup anymore?  I’ve detailed my experiences with tape backups here.
  • Online Backup – I can’t see any of these failing.  Unless you have not backed ALL your files up to the online service.

So pick two different media types to backup to.  I use Disk to Disk and CD/DVD.

1
If you have a fire, and you’ve stored your backups next to your (now melted) computer, then your backups are of no use to you.
Keep a copy of your backups at a relatives house.
Or a bank deposit box.
Or even better, use an online backup service.  You can find a list of them here.

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