WD My Cloud Outage Sternly reiterates the ‘backup rule of three’.
The backup rule of three states that you should have at least three copies of your important data, stored in two different formats, with one copy stored offsite. This is crucial to ensuring that you can recover your data in the event of a cloud outage or other disaster. It’s also important to regularly test your backups to make sure they are working properly.
Western Digital’s servers were hacked last week, causing the business to shut down its services, including its My Cloud backup and file access service. According to the WD My Cloud status page, the outage started on April 2 and was first reported on April 3. Customers have yet to hear anything more on when they might anticipate having access to their data restored as of April 5.
If you’ve experienced this service interruption, you’re probably dealing with it in one of two ways: either you’re temporarily inconvenienced because your data isn’t immediately accessible in the cloud, or you’re frustratingly shutting off from your files. The distinction? In the first case, My Cloud is the only place where you can access your data. You were adhering to the principle of three.
You must create backups of your data, and each backup you create should have multiple copies. Enter the rule of three: Unless there are three copies, your data isn’t secure. Be it natural (such as a storm) or man-made (such as a hard drive failure or a cloud service outage), disaster can strike at the most inconvenient and unforeseen moments.
The full version of this guideline is “3-2-1”: You have three copies of the data, with two available on-site (and on two different devices) and one available off-site (a spare hard drive saved at a trusted person’s home, or the cloud). It’s why our staff publishes lists of recommended external drives for backups, automated backup software, and cloud backup services. The unfortunate reality is that your data can become unavailable at any moment, and as this situation with WD My Cloud shows, through no fault of your own.
At a minimum, you should follow this rule for your mission-critical data. It’s important to protect yourself, even when you’re short on time or money. One way to do this is by regularly backing up your data to multiple locations, such as an external hard drive or cloud storage service. Additionally, investing in a reliable and secure backup solution can provide peace of mind and ensure that your data is always accessible, even in the event of a hardware failure or cyber-attack.
Your data needs backups—and when you make them, more than one copy should exist. Enter the rule of three: Your data isn’t safe unless there are three copies. The PCWorld staff talks about this rule a lot in our articles about backups and for good reason. Disaster can hit at unexpected and inopportune times, be it natural (e.g., hurricane) or man-made (hard drive death, cloud service outage).
Don’t get me wrong, this situation is rough. I feel for everyone who’s stuck wondering when they’ll get access to their data again. I’m positive too that the teams at Western Digital are working hard to get back online as fast as they can. But it can be a slow process, and while you wait, you should prepare (if you haven’t already) and be ready for the next time this happens. That’s no slur on WD—hacks are all too common these days. The question is not if another breach will happen, but when. You need to be ready.