Bouncing back from data-loss is costly and time-consuming for any business. You risk missing deadlines, and if your data can’t be recovered you might have to claw-back days’ worth of work. With a decent strategy, however, the threat of data-loss can be completely eradicated.

Any strategy we do employ would need to ensure our files are protected from a variety of scenarios:

  • Human error (maybe someone deleted the files)
  • Malware that deletes files or renders them inaccessible (e.g. ransomware)
  • Hardware failure that deletes files or breaks the hard-drives etc
  • Catastrophic failure (flooding, fires etc.)
  • Software bugs that delete data
  • File corruption

One solution is the 3-2-1 backup strategy. No matter your industry or individual expertise, this is a great piece of information to know:

3 total copies

This means that you need at least 3 copies all together of the file.

2 different mediums locally

The file should be on at least two different types of storage locally (either at home or the office where you usually access the file). E.G. family photos on your home computer’s hard-drive and also a CD-R in the study at home.

1 copy offsite

One copy should be in a different place in-case of catastrophic failure. E.G. the same family photos from before on cloud storage on the internet, or on a USB stick at work (a different building from home).

Cloud storage is an easy way to create an offsite copy but comes at the expense of security. You are trusting the data in the hands of a private company. Even if you deem the company trustworthy, online databases tend to be vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data leaks. (Below you can find a table we have compiled to help you weigh up the best storage type for your application)

In summary

By following the 3-2-1 backup strategy and selecting the right type of storage, you can have reasonable confidence that data-loss won’t hold you back. Wherever you go, be it a work or home environment, this information should easy to transfer and surprisingly useful.

A table highlighting the pros and cons of storage types

What’s Serial-Access?

Maybe you saw serial-access mentioned a few times in our table. This means that to get a piece of information, for example half way through a roll magnetic tape, you always need to go through the tape from the start and stop it at the correct point. Anyone that remembers VHS will remember having to wind to the start of a movie. This is unlike a lot of new kinds of storage.

For example, with a CD you could just start the third track to get your favourite song. That is called random-access.

Common serial-access data-types include:

  • Hard-Drive
  • Magnetic Tape
  • Cassettes
  • VHS

Common random-access data-types include:

  • Flash Stick (USB drive)
  • SSD
  • RAM
  • CDs

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