3-2-1… let’s talk back-up solutions

Have you heard of the 3-2-1 rule when it comes to safeguarding your business data? It’s a good, industry-standard principle that applies to most situations in the field of IT back-up – an area where typically, one size almost never fits all.

A 3-2-1 methodology ensures no single point of failure – there are three copies of the data, on two separate media types with one stored off-site.

Local copies are available for fast recovery, but in the event of a fire or flood everything is also accessible in the cloud.

Has your SME protected its vital data properly? Are you confident you can save all your documents if your systems fail?  This is one aspect of IT that many companies forget to put in place.

It’s true that no-one starts up their own business dreaming of the back-up choices that await them – unless of course they are natural-born IT enthusiasts like us. But picking one and implementing it is very, very important.

Choosing your safety net

Think of the 3-2-1 rule as a safety net, firmly in place, allowing you to get on with winning new business and pursuing fresh ideas and projects. Straightforward yet effective, this method is now widely hailed as best practice.

In the past, bulky hard drives or stacks of tapes made such a process hard to implement, and only the most diligent businesses would carefully save everything they ought to. However, the magic of the cloud makes things much easier – though for many businesses there is still a case for physical storage systems and works servers.

But a cloud, like pretty much anything else in business, needs to be carefully selected from a dizzying array of offers.

What do you want your back-up to do?

Data back-up is usually one of the first aspects of IT that we draw clients’ attention to. But, as mentioned, there’s no such thing as a contingency to fit all SMEs. Choosing yours depends on what you think you will need it to do.

If you lost your email, or your finance or sales systems, what effect would that have? What data needs to be protected and how quickly would you need to restore it? Where are the risks in your systems and how can these be minimised?

These are just some of the questions you might want to ask yourself.

Putting the separate matter of archiving to one side, Q2Q recommends remote back-up through which operational data is automatically saved and stored routinely – and only for as long as it is needed – on a 3-2-1 basis.

Protection for all your devices

You’ll need to look for back-up for all your business devices, not just your desktop computers. Retrieving files from phones and tablets is increasingly important as they become more sophisticated at both storing and creating data.

Checking that your chosen back-up meets the need of all your office software is critical, too.

Finally, if you’re backing up a large amount of data from scratch, whatever method you use, it might feel like filling a swimming pool with a paper cup. Backing up takes time due to available bandwidths –  but smaller, automatic additions after that will be much quicker and easier!

So, it takes a bit of homework to choose the right back-up. But putting the work in now – or enlisting the right professional support to do so – will help make dealing with any data loss problems down the line as easy as 1-2-3… or should we say 3-2-1!

Worried you’re not prepared for a data loss? Talk to Q2Q today about your back-up needs.

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    Preston: 01772 395693

    Technical IT Support illustration at Q2Q HQ Lancaster, Lancashire and the North West