Why make a backup? What is the 3-2-1 rule?

Why make a backup? What is the 3-2-1 rule?

First of all, what is a backup? A backup copy is a copy of your important data. Usually kept in a completely different place, or at least on a different device than the one you use daily, so that you can restore the data in the event of a hardware or software problem.

Justifying the need for a backup should not be done these days. Everyone has some digital files (whether we’re talking about passwords, data, emails, pictures, etc.) that they wouldn’t want to lose. And backup is the only process that can protect you from irreparable data loss.

Performing an occasional backup should be a normal habit for both business users and consumers and normal people. At least a minimal backup copy of important data in case the hard disk or SSD in the system ‘cracks’.

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Why make a backup?

Well… so as not to lose important data.

The problem is that too many people blindly trust their SSD or hard disk. Or in the operating system, or in the anti-virus suite. Nasty things still happen. And you don’t want to wake up one day that you belong to that small percentage who had a cracked SSD and lost photos, memories with your family or other data that can even cause you trouble if you lose them (contract drafts , templates and what else you use at work)

So you better make a backup.

And if you think you’re ok because you have ‘System Restore’ anyway, we’re talking after your SSD cracks and you’re wondering what the cause was, although it was improbable… it happened. At least a NAS or cloud service would be a bare minimum.

How often should you make a backup?

First of all, in this article I am dealing with data. Not snapshots or system images, with which you can restore all your Windows or Linux if something breaks. I mean backup copies of photos, documents, etc.

Then you have to take into account three things when you want to make a backup:

  • How often do those data change?
  • How valuable is data?
  • How long does a backup take?

Having a coherent and honest answer to the 3 questions, you can formulate a backup strategy to stick to. Maybe you don’t want to make a backup every week of practically everything. But maybe you have data that changes frequently and you want to back it up every day. There are solutions.

READ ALSO: The Components of a Computer – What are they?

What is the 3-2-1 rule for backups?

The 3-2-1 rule for backups was introduced in 2005 by Peter Krogh, a photographer, writer and consultant. It is the recommended method to maintain backups also by CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) .

What does the 3-2-1 rule consist of:

3. Create a primary safety copy and two copies of it.

2. Save the backup copies on two different media.

1. Keep at least one of the children off-site. That is, not in the same building with the other children or with the place where you carry out your daily activity.

The main advantage of this method of keeping backups is that we reduce the impact of a single point of failure.

That is: if you have a backup copy on a NAS, in the living room, one in a portable SSD and one in a cloud storage service and your portable SSD cracks, you have not lost data. Or not so many, if a long time has passed since the last backup. It’s still better than being left with nothing.

And as in the example above, this is probably the easiest way to respect the 3-2-1 rule:

  • Backup principal pe NAS-ul local;
  • Secondary backup of the most important data on an external SSD (or everything if your data fits on it);
  • The third backup, offsite, in the cloud, preferably encrypted;

Are backups kept in the cloud safe?

Yes. Yes, I know, everyone loves conspiracy theories and how we are followed and our data is taken and blah blah. Chances are that your activity on social media (or on the net, in general) for the last 3 years is worth more than your vacation photos that you want to upload to the cloud as security. And you give it to Ad Tech companies for free.

No one will be able to break the password or decrypt the pictures of your dog. And if you have such sensitive data, maybe it shouldn’t be on a device with internet access. No, your PC is not safe either. (bad things can happen: the house catches fire, bye PC. Ransomware, and other stupid things)

Some common sense rules to have peace of mind when uploading something to the cloud:

  • Be organized.
  • Encrypt everything important. Or everything.
  • 2-step authentication for cloud storage. Or security keys etc. And don’t give the password to half of the people you know.
  • Choose a cloud storage provider that you trust as much as possible.

Regarding point 2: I would encrypt/ password anything, if the program used does not encrypt automatically. It’s an additional step, but it gives you peace of mind.

Regarding point 4, I use Hetzner . Both the fact that they comply with GDPR and actually my experience with them in recent years give me confidence that they are ok. And they have 2 types of super ok services for those who need data storage: Storage Box and Storage Share. Storage Share uses Nextcloud, a super useful application. In addition, they are also cheap. Yes, the price was also a criterion for me when I chose them.

Other services that you can try or that you can document: Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Azur, Backblaze,, ProtonDrive, Tresorit and more than likely there are many others besides these. It depends on how much you want to beat your head and on your knowledge (or rather on the desire to learn something new… as nowadays with a little English you can find a tutorial for anything).

Remember! Encrypt your data regardless of which cloud storage provider you choose.

And regarding encryption, I had good experiences with: Cryptomator, Rclone, VeraCrypt and Syncthing, but I’m sure there are other solutions. In any case, even the simple compression and encryption of a folder with WinRar is 1000 times better than nothing.

READ ALSO: How to Buy a Good Motherboard?

Are the backups automated?


Some providers and some applications have direct automation stuff. In this case, all you have to do is see how it works and test it.

But in any case, I can recommend Veeam for Windows (it also has a mocha version) and BorgBackup for Linux – see also Vorta if you use Borg Backup . I’ve heard good things about Duplicati as well.


I think there is no point in going further in a single article. This article is more about convincing you that a backup copy is important (if you can follow the 3-2-1 rule even better!) and can save you from data loss.

We will discuss in more detail about some things in this article and in the form of a guide/tutorial.

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