3-2-1…Backup!

Recently an associate encountered an issue with her computer system – the all-important USB hard drive that was her primary data store … could not be accessed! Her computer suddenly and inexplicably was throwing out “journal” errors when trying to access her data!

A near-heart attack and many anxious hours later, she was able to use DiskWarrior to access the hard drive and pull all that precious data back onto the computer. But if that hadn’t worked, so what? I mean, she had a backup, right? True … unfortunately, that backup was to the same – now inaccessible – external hard drive … doh!

Her computer suddenly and inexplicably was throwing out “journal” errors when trying to access her data!

There’s some takeaway lessons here, the most important of which is the primary rule of backup: 3 – 2 – 1.

  • 3 copies of your data, on
  • 2 types of media, with
  • 1 offsite copy

“1” means that you must have at least one of the 3 copies offsite, e.g., with a reputable cloud backup provider (we like Crashplan).

“2” means your data should be stored on more than one type of device. In the olden days we’d have to resort to tapes and DVD-R discs; these days, an external USB hard drive is sufficient (we like Western Digital external drives); a NAS appliance is also a common option. Ideally, this second media should include some measure of redundancy as well, such as a pair of drives that mirror each other (aka, RAID 1).

“3” is what you end up with – three (3) copies of your data:

  • 1 set on your computer (primary)
  • 1 set on the external USB hard drive or NAS (onsite backup)
  • 1 set in the cloud (offsite backup)

Remember – files you do not backup … are files you plan to lose. It’s as simple as that.

And finally … remember that Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive etc. are not really backup!

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