Backup Best Practices To Help You Get Back Up and Running

While we hope you never need your backups, there’s no substitute for them if you do. Here’s how to minimize your recovery time if the worst occurs.


Each year on March 31, we celebrate World Backup Day as a reminder of how priceless our data is. Whether you’re a big tech company with thousands of terabytes of invaluable data, or a parent wanting to ensure the safety of precious memories like birthday parties, holidays and first days of school, World Backup Day is for everybody in this increasingly data-dependent world.  

What is a Backup? 

A backup is essentially a digital insurance policy for your data. A backup is a complete copy of your most important data stored separately from the main data. You can store this copy on a secondary storage device such as a spare hard drive or SSD, as well as in the cloud. Having a backup of your most important assets can keep you protected in the event of a disaster, such as a ransomware attack or hardware failure. If you don’t have a backup, all of your data is dependent on a single point of failure – whether that be the storage device your data lives on or the security of your system. Backing up this data offers a way to ensure this data lives on even in cases of natural disaster and other catastrophes.  

As Easy as 3-2-1 

Some organizations and individuals may already have a single backup of their data, either on a physical hard drive or in the cloud, but it’s actually best practice to do both. Many cyber hygiene experts believe that when it comes to backups, you should follow the 3-2-1 rule: 

  • Have three complete backups of your data at any given time 
  • Store two of these backups on physical media devices such as an extra hard drive or SSD 
  • Store one backup in the cloud  

If you follow the 3-2-1 rule, you’re going to be ahead of the curve when it comes to backup best practices. And if you’re frequently updating these backups, you can greatly reduce the potential harm that certain cyberattacks could do to your organization.  

Other Backup Best Practices 

Like with any form of cyber hygiene, it’s not as simple as just having multiple backups. The 3-2-1 rule is a great start, but there are several backup best practices you can follow to get the most benefits from your backups.  

  • Ensure your backups are up-to-date, and include all the data you would need to restore your systems in the case of a cyberattack or other emergency 
  • Store your physical backups in a safe location – preferably offsite 
  • Encrypt all of your backup data and make sure it can’t be tampered with 
  • Automate frequent backups, and test your backups regularly to ensure integrity 
  • Develop a backup restoration plan and practice it frequently so that when something does happen, you already know exactly what to do and how to do it 

Putting these backup hygiene best practices to work for you might make the difference between “starting from zero” and “backup hero” in no time. And when a threat actor tries to take your data hostage, you can rest easy knowing you have multiple current backups to get your systems operational and lessen the blow.  

Make Everyday World Backup Day 

While March 31 is the day of the year when backup hygiene and best practices will be the loudest, truthfully you should be treating every day like it’s World Backup Day. Cybercriminals, hardware failures, major bugs and other potential disasters can and do strike at any time of the year. Making frequent backups and rigorously practicing your backup emergency plans is a key responsibility in protecting your data. And if you fear that you’re going to forget all the great information in this blog, feel free to save it – and then create multiple backups of it. And then maybe a couple more! 

Jordan Riddles
Junior Copywriter | SonicWall
Jordan Riddles is a Junior Copywriter for SonicWall. He has a background in content creation and editing, and he lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jordan is a graduate of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with a focus in English and creative writing. In his spare time, he loves reading, cooking and disc golfing.