We’ve seen a number of significant natural disasters in 2017 totaling an estimated $25B in losses. These natural disasters include 3 major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Maria), Wild Fires (West Coast), and Flooding (Mid-West and California).

With the damage that any of these events – or even a local fire or flood can cause to your business, it’s important to be prepared. The good news is, that being ready to handle the unexpected can be fairly easy – if you remember the 3-2-1 rule for keeping your data safe.

What’s the 3-2-1 rule? Actually, it’s simple. Here’s a summary:

3 – Have at least three backup copies of your data.

2 – Store the copies on two different media.

1 – Keep at least one backup copy offsite.

Let’s dig in a bit…

Why do you need at least three copies of your data? First, if data is deleted/damaged/infected and it takes some time to notice, you’ll need one of the older copies to restore it. Second, if you want to restore something from a backup and you find the backup is damaged in some way – you have another option.

Why two different media? If all your backups are on the same media (for example an external hard drive) and that media fails or is damaged – all your backups go with it.

Why keep one backup offsite? If you lose the facility (for any reason) you don’t want to lose all your backup copies with it.

What else do you need to know? Assuming the backup technology is sound and you’re backing up ALL your data and being monitored, the biggest challenge is the human challenge. What do I mean? If the process counts on someone to activate it or change/connect something – that’s where it will most likely fail. This tends to happen because the person responsible for the activity changes, is out sick, is on vacation, is very busy, or just gets sloppy.

Keep those backups running!