Why You Should Use the 3-2-1 Backup Rule.

3-2-1 backup rule title image

With smartphones and digital cameras, every memorable moment of our lives can be captured by a photo or video. With cameras at our fingertips we take more than 380 millions photos per day, some of these capturing personal memories we would want to keep safe. Just like physical photos and videotapes, the digital photos can be lost, damaged or destroyed but with digital copies, you have the benefit of applying the 3-2-1 backup rule to help you keep your memories safe.

With digital photography, gone are the days of having to make sure you had film or tapes loaded to capture the moment. Followed by the sheer cross your fingers moment when collecting your photos that they will turn out, or you receive your photos back and not someone else’s. Digital cameras have removed this experience but devices can fail, be lost, damaged or stolen.

By using the 3-2-1 backup rule, even if something happens to your phone or camera, your photos are safe. It also helps retain those memories in the result of a fire, flood or other unfortunate events.

So what is the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?

The 3-2-1 backup rule has been around for a long time in IT terms and remains relevant today because it still makes sense and works. It can help you retain those memories in nearly any failure scenario if carried out regularly.

The 3-2-1 rule implies the following:

  • 3 Copies of your data
  • 2 different media
  • 1 Offsite

3 Copies of your data

This means the original file and two separate backups of the files. This refers to the original files on your device and two separate backups. With some phones and cameras having an automatic backup feature to the cloud, your photos and videos may already cover 2 of the 3 copies of your data

the iCloud and Google Photos.

2. Backups held on 2 different media

This protects from media failure, keeping the backups on two different storage media means if one fails or is lost, you still have another to fall back on. By different media, this could be things such as;
external hard drives
USB sticks
SD Cards

I have been guilty of losing a USB stick or two and currently have an external hard drive that can no longer be read. ( Really not sure why I have kept it! )

Hold 1 backup offsite ( Different Location)

Holding one backup in a different location, as far away as possible. Like mentioned above, if you store both backups at home with you and something happens, both your backups could be lost. This is about making sure that if something local happens, such as fire, theft, flood your files are safe.

Cloud storage options that are available today make this easy to do. A lot of devices come with some free cloud storage, including some with unlimited storage for photos. With cloud services like iCloud and Google Photos you can automatically upload your snaps makes this element of the rule super easy.

Isn’t it a bit of a hassle for what might never happen?

Reading this, you may think, it sounds like a lot of hassle and a lot of time-consuming work, but you may even be doing part of the 3-2-1 rule now without realising it.

For instance, for me I have the 3-2-1 backup rule covered just by making my photos and videos accessible to me.

  • I regularly want access to my photos on my laptop, and only because my laptop has a small hard drive, I transfer my photos my external hard drive.
    (Currently, have 87gig of photos and videos spanning 18 years of digital photography and scanned images)
  • Keep the important photos in the cloud so I can access them on all my devices which not only is a backup but allows me to access these across all my devices.

By following the 3-2-1 backup rule and doing regular backups, if you were to lose your phone or camera, have device failure or something happens at home, those memories are safe and sound.

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