The 3-2-1 Backup Method

Have you recently lost data on your computer or mobile device? Maybe you lost precious photos taken on your phone or accidentally deleted important financial documents. We have all done this at some point in our lives – I know I have! – and we will all probably do it again in the future. This is why the 3-2-1 Backup Method is so important.

3-2-1 File Backup Method

The 3-2-1 Backup Method is a backup strategy in which you have three copies of your data with two copies stored locally and one copy stored off-site. It works for any type of data from documents to images and videos. This process ensures that you will have a copy of your data in case the worst happens – a lost phone, a catastrophic power surge, hard drive failure, etc.

It’s really not as crazy or complicated as it sounds and it is a fairly simple process to set up. By incorporating the 3-2-1 backup method you will ultimately have 3 copies of your most important data. Two copies will be stored locally at your home or office and one copy will need to be stored off site, such as on the cloud.

Where to Create Backups

You already have one copy on your device, the copy you initially created. A second copy could easily be placed on an external hard drive, a portable USB flash drive, or even burned to a CD.

Media for Backups

At least one of these is out-dated 🙂

I highly recommend these 2 TB external hard drives by Seagate and Western Digital. They’re around $50-60 and well worth the peace of mind they give you for that price. I use both of them. I actually use one of them as a portable “flash” drive, to transport large files between my work and home computers, and the other as a backup medium. Two terabytes should be plenty of space to backup your files. Although if you need more space Amazon has a number of external hard drives you can look at and get the size that fits your needs.


Western Digital:

An Offsite Copy

For a third copy that is stored off site, you could easily use a cloud backup service such as Backblaze or Carbonite or even document sharing services like Google Docs or Dropbox. Having an off-site backup is the last step to having a full-fledged backup strategy. The best part about using a cloud-based service for backing up data is that it is mostly hands off. Once you set it up, you normally don’t have to do anything else for it to work. It’s that simple.

Mobile Backups

You can also apply the 3-2-1 backup method easily to your mobile devices. For example, backup your iphone to iTunes and and download your photos to the Photos app. You can then export your photos to an external hard drive. If you enable iCloud storage then your data and photos are automatically backed up to the iCloud servers.

Just remember no backup system is perfect because as humans, we are not perfect. Whatever backup system you choose depends on you to actually implement and keep it going. However the 3-2-1 backup method is one of the best systems you can implement to make sure you are covered if you lose your data through accident or unforeseen circumstances.

Previous Post
Computer Data Loss
Data Backup

Oh No! You Forgot to Backup Your Files

Next Post
Child on Computer
Online Security

Five Ways to Protect Your Child Online