Choosing the Best Backup Option
Before you choose a data backup option, assess the advantages and risks of each media, your financial resources, and your needs, such as the amount of data to be backed up, protection for sensitive data (customer data, personally identifiable information, or personal health information), and accessibility of data (permanent archiving, temporary backups, and rolling backups).
Home users storing a relatively small amount of personal data should consider keeping primary files on the hard drive of their computer, with at least two backup copies on solid-state storage, optical storage (stored in jewel cases), or remote storage.
Individuals or small businesses who want to store large amounts of non-sensitive data should consider keeping working files on their hard drives or servers, with at least two backup copies on separate servers, high-capacity optical media, high-capacity solid-state storage, digital tape systems, or cloud storage. If the stored data is sensitive, be sure to carefully consider the risks of cloud storage, encrypt your data, and keep any storage media physically secure.
Large businesses or organizations should consider keeping one backup copy onsite and another offsite either through a separate data service (such as a cloud service provider or remote server backup) or on the organization’s own offsite servers or digital tape system.
Whatever backup options you choose, remember to follow the 3-2-1 rule of backups:
- 3 – Keep 3 copies of any important file: 1 primary and 2 backups.
- 2 – Keep the files on 2 different media types to protect against different types of hazards.
- 1 – Store 1 copy offsite (e.g., outside your home or business facility).