Explaining the 3-2-1-1-0 Backup Method: Simplifying Data Protection with TrueNAS

When was the last time you paused to check on the smoke alarms where your most valuable property is stored? The best practice in fire protection is to check these alarms monthly and replace their batteries twice per year. It’s a small task that can make a big difference in an emergency. World Backup Day is on 3/31, just in time for Spring cleaning. It’s that time of the year that reminds everyone to check in on their backup strategy and tactics to ensure they are properly protected.

These days, a common strategy is “3-2-1-1-0”, which stands for data that is stored in this manner:

  • 3 different copies of data,
  • 2 different types of media used,
  • 1 copy stored offsite,
  • 1 copy offline,
  • 0 errors after verification.

In the realm of data management and protection, what had been 3-2-1 has become 3-2-1-1-0, as data loss risk has evolved. While the concept may initially seem overwhelming, understanding the fundamentals of a proper backup can demystify the process and empower individuals and businesses to fortify their data fortress. Thankfully, all TrueNAS platforms provide intuitive features that streamline the backup process, making data protection a seamless aspect of True Data Freedom.

Decoding the 3-2-1-1-0 Backup Strategy​

The 3-2-1-1-0 backup strategy serves as a blueprint for comprehensive data protection, emphasizing redundancy and accessibility. Let’s break it down:

3 Copies: To start, the strategy calls for maintaining three copies of your data; the original data, plus two additional copies. This redundancy ensures that if one copy or even two are compromised, at least one remains intact, minimizing the risk of irretrievable loss.

2 Different Types of Media: Storing copies on two different types of media helps keep your data available in the event one of the media suffers a physical or logical failure. For example, a high-performance all-flash system stores the primary copy of your data for the fastest production performance, and a second system using lower cost hard drives is used to store a local backup or replica copy.

1 Copy Offsite: Having at least one copy stored offsite safeguards against localized disasters like fire, theft, or natural calamities. Cloud storage services (like iX-Storj built into TrueNAS) offer a convenient offsite option to ensure data accessibility even in the face of catastrophic events.

1 Copy Offline: Historically, this meant an air-gapped copy that is isolated from any network, making it impossible for a bad actor or anyone to tamper with it. “Immutable,” or unchanging over time, is a feature today’s users are interested in to protect from bad actor cyber threats like ransomware. By maintaining one such copy, organizations can retain confidence in their ability to recover from malicious events.

0 Errors: Regularly verifying backups for errors and practicing recovery is vital to ensure any backup strategy will work if/when the time comes to recover. Any backup strategy is only as effective as its ability to restore data accurately.

TrueNAS: Your Data Your Way​

TrueNAS SCALE, the newest version of TrueNAS, epitomizes simplicity and efficiency in data management, including backups. Here’s how it aligns with the principles of the 3-2-1-1-0 strategy:

Versatile Storage Options: TrueNAS offers a versatile array of storage options, including local disks, network-attached storage (NAS), and integration with cloud services. This versatility facilitates adherence to the 3-2-1-1-0 strategy by allowing users to store backups across different media types and locations effortlessly.

Built-in Replication and Snapshotting: TrueNAS offers built-in replication and snapshotting capabilities, enabling users to create multiple copies of their data effortlessly. These features ensure redundancy and facilitate the creation of air-gapped copies, bolstering data resilience against both hardware failures and cyber threats.

Integration with Cloud Backup: TrueNAS seamlessly integrates with S3-compatible cloud storage providers like iX-Storj, which allows users to effortlessly create offsite copies.

Data Integrity Checks: TrueNAS includes data integrity checks, meaning that backups are error-free and reliable for restoration purposes. By prioritizing data integrity, TrueNAS helps users adhere to the foundational principle of the 3-2-1-1-0 backup methodology.

In conclusion, understanding the 3-2-1-1-0 backup method and leveraging tools in TrueNAS can simplify data protection so you remain confident in your prevention from data loss. By following these principles and harnessing intuitive platforms, safeguarding valuable data becomes a seamless aspect of digital life.

Sounds too good to be true? We encourage you to experience TrueNAS for yourself today (download TrueNAS here), listen to what our customers are saying on Gartner’s Website, or if you’re storing critical data, feel free to schedule a call with one of our helpful Solution Advisors.