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My Retention Settings for File Backups (your requirements may vary…)

I work at CloudBerry, but I'm also a CloudBerry user. Like many of you, I need to protect both my work and my personal files, but I have different needs for each when it comes to what I need to be able to restore.  What follows are my preferred retention settings for work and personal backups.

Retention Requirements for Work Files

For my work files, which I back up twice a day, I have the following requirements:

Keep all file versions for 90 days

  • Why: Because I need to be to restore any work files that were changed in the last 3 months even if they were edited every day
  • Example: I want to restore a version of document as it existed 45 days ago

Keep file backups even if they are old

  • Why: I want to make sure I can restore any work files, regardless of how long it has been since they were last backed up
  • Example: I need to restore the latest version of the 2016 Detailed Sales Metrics Excel spreadsheet that I backed up 2 years ago

Keep deleted files for 30 days

  • Why: If I delete a file on purpose, by accident, or some malicious process deletes my stuff, I want to make sure I can restore those files from my backups
  • Example: I deleted a blog post 20 days ago that I was writing in Microsoft Word, but realized today that the delete was a mistake

This is how I enforce these business backup requirements in CloudBerry Backup & Managed Backup:

  • Check “Delete Versions Older Than” and set it to 90 Days from Modification Date
    • Why: This deletes all file backups older than 90 days
  • Check “Always Keep the Last Version”
    • Why: This keeps the latest backup of each file, even if that backup is more than 90 days old
  • Check “Delete Files that have been Deleted Locally” After 30 Days
    • Why: This keeps deleted files around in backup storage for 30 days before they are permanently removed
  • Uncheck “Keep Number of Versions for Each File”
  • Uncheck “Delay Purge for”

Retention Requirements for Personal Files

For my personal files, which I back up once a day in the evening, I have the following requirements:

Keep only the last 3 versions of each file for up to 90 days

  • Why: Because I need to be able to restore personal files, but I don't care much about keeping a long backup history of changes, nor keeping older versions of backups for long periods.
  • Example: I need to restore yesterday’s version of a letter I was writing my estate attorney

Keep file backups even if they are old

  • Why: I want to make sure I can restore any personal files, regardless of how long it has been since they were last backed up
  • Example: I need to restore an old picture of my dad that I backed up 2 years ago and haven’t edited since

Keep deleted files for 7 days

  • Why: If I delete a file on purpose, by accident, or some malicious process deletes my stuff, I want to make sure I can restore those files from my backups.
  • Example: I deleted a picture of George (my dog) accidentally yesterday, but realized that the delete was a mistake

This is how I enforce these personal backup requirements in CloudBerry Backup & Managed Backup:

  • Check “Delete Versions Older Than” and set it to 90 Days from Modification Date
    • Why: This deletes all file backups older than 90 days
  • Check “Keep Number of Versions for Each File” and set to 3
    • Why: This keeps up to 3 backup versions of each file within that 90-day period
  • Check “Always Keep the Last Version”
    • Why: This keeps the latest backup of each file, even if that backup is more than 90 days old
  • Check “Delete Files that have been Deleted Locally” After 7 Days
    • Why: This keeps deleted files around in backup storage for 7 days before they are permanently removed
  • Uncheck “Delay Purge for”

Your Requirements May Vary…

It goes without saying that your retention requirements probably differ from mine. The good news is the available retention options should provide the needed configurability for you (and your business). I’ve referenced a few other blog posts in the "RECOMMENDED FOR YOU" section that go into more detail about retention settings and how using Block-Level Backups with your File Backup Plans and Incremental Backups used by our Image-Based Backup plans affect retention.

Please review them for more information.  We also have new GFS retention options coming in the next major release, so stay tuned. If you have a retention policy that you're happy with and would like to share, please do so in the comments section below.