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Back That Data Up

By Jon Cohen:

Don’t fall victim to data loss,

World Backup Day was March 31,

but you can still act now!

In today's digital age, data has become increasingly valuable and essential to our daily lives. We store our memories, documents, and important information on our electronic devices, from laptops and smartphones to tablets and legacy discs (such as CDs and DVDs). However, it's essential to recognize the risks associated with storing data electronically, including the possibility of data loss (corruption) or theft. Therefore, backing up your data is crucial, and I will share with you a proven method to ensure you don't lose it. In fact, March 31 is set as “World Backup Day.” This day acts as a reminder to all of us about the need to back up our data, especially before the first of April (which marks April Fool’s Day), a day that in the history of technology many hackers have used to perform malicious acts.

Before we look at the 3-2-1 backup method, let’s talk about a few reasons why backup is important.

  1. Protection against data loss: It's not uncommon for electronic devices (such as hard drives) to crash or fail, and when they do, you can lose all the data stored on them. In some cases, it may even be impossible to get any of this data back. By backing up your data, you can protect yourself from losses and ensure that you can still access the data even if your device fails.

  2. Protection against theft: Your data is a valuable target for criminals and cybercriminals, and if they manage to steal your computer or external hard drive, then they might have access to your data. But regardless, you would be left with nothing. Thus, by backing up your data, you can protect it from theft and ensure that you can still reload your data even if your device is stolen.

  3. Peace of mind: Knowing that your data is backed up can give you peace of mind, knowing that you won't lose it even in worst-case scenarios (such as fire, flood, or other disasters). This can help you feel more relaxed and confident in using your electronic devices.

Before you start to think about backup methods, it is important to understand the places you can back up your data too. This includes cloud storage, external hard drives, or NAS (network attached storage) drives. It’s essential to choose a backup method that works for you and regularly back up your data to ensure that it’s always protected.

The 3-2-1 method of data backup is a widely recognized strategy for protecting your valuable data from loss or corruption. The strategy involves creating three separate copies of your data, storing them in two different media devices, keeping one local, one copy offsite, and one in the cloud.

There are several reasons why the 3-2-1 method of data backup is recommended. For me, some of the most significant reasons are that it will protect against physical damage or cyber threats: Storing one copy of your data offsite protects you against physical damage, such as natural disasters, theft, or fire. It also protects you against cyber threats, such as ransomware or other malware that can infect your network.

But these rules are not only for home users, businesses also need to be aware of the threats and know that they are a target as well. In a statement, Carl D'Halluin, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Datadobi said:

“Failing to backup your data can have catastrophic consequences, as a single hardware failure, cyber-attack, or natural disaster can wipe out all your valuable information, leaving you with no way to recover it. This means that years of hard work can all be lost in an instant, with no chance of retrieval. Even the cost of losing just a portion of your important data can be immeasurable, with potential financial, legal, and reputational implications that can last for years.“

How to Implement the 3-2-1 Method

Implementing the 3-2-1 method is relatively straightforward. Here's how you can do it:

  • Create three copies of your data: Two copies on external storage devices (such as a hard drive) and one in the cloud.

  • Store these copies in separate storage devices: For example, you could store one copy on an external hard drive and another on a different external hard drive.

  • Keep one copy offsite: Store one of these external hard drives with a copy of your data in a different location from your primary device and other external drives, such as in a different building or city.

  • Use a cloud service: Store one copy of your data on an external service that is cloud-based. A few common ones are Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, OneDrive, iDrive, and BackBlaze.

  • Test your backups regularly: It's essential to test your backups regularly to ensure they’re working correctly and that you can restore your data if needed.

The 3-2-1 method of data backup is an effective strategy for protecting your data from loss or corruption. Backing up your data is crucial to protect you from data loss or theft. It will also save you time in restoring your data in the event of device failure or theft and, equally importantly, it will give you peace of mind.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start backing up your data. Invest in a reliable backup method today, and you’ll be glad you did.


Jon Cohen’s contributions can be found on radio, TV, and print media. Jon makes “geek speak” understandable for the masses and has been a voice in the tech community for over 20 years. A former “Geek Squad” member as well as an “Apple Genius,” he offers a fresh perspective on technology, photography, and social media. Twitter: @cohenHD

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