The Colony of Ants and the Swarm of Grasshoppers

Two ants meet antennae to antennae and we can only guess what that might mean. In a tall field a grasshopper chirps and another sounds like it’s answering, but we don’t really understand. Still they just might be trying to tell us something.

And Now for Something Completely Different

In the light of summer in a forest, a colony of ants was busy. It was known as The Colony of Methodical Memory. And the colony worked hard. The ants built clever storerooms within the earth. And they meticulously copied their knowledge and wisdom onto many gathered leaves and placed these in the secure storerooms.

There was at the same time in the same wood a swarm of grasshoppers, known as The Swarm of ‘Hi There’. While the ant colony worked, the grasshoppers swayed on leaves in the sun. They laughed. They sang. They even laughed at the ant colony’s preparations. “Why tax ourselves with the anxieties of the future?” they sang. (For them that’s a catchy lyric.)

One day a storm of great violence and darkness fell on the forest. It corrupted and destroyed all it reached. The Swarm of ‘Hi There’ panicked. They didn’t know what to do. And they despaired. Their memories, their words and melodies were gone, lost in the torrential chaos.

But when the sky cleared and the summer sun returned the Colony of Methodical Memory emerged from their underground homes. Even some of those underground places had been flooded and damaged. But with sure and practiced steps, they retrieved from their protected storerooms their meticulously copied leaves, and restored their society to its glory.

The grasshoppers by pain and hardship finally understood. They saw the value in making sure their way of life would continue through future storms. They learned about storage from the only-too-happy-to-help ants, who seem to take irritating pleasure when you admit they’re right.

What’s It All About?

The ants in the story took good care of their data. They had their working knowledge and wisdom (documents, financial accounts, intellectual property, etc.) and a special area that was secure from a flood (equivalent to any data threat like ransomware or employee error) in which to place backup copies of their data.

The grasshoppers represent the different, more haphazard ways a lot of organizations treat their information. About half1 of small-to-medium-sized businesses backup and try to restore manually; often someone has to try to remember to drag files or folders onto another drive. For the grasshoppers a backup plan is not really in the cards, because nobody wants backups (it’s just later, restores might come in handy)2.

The storm might be a cyberattack or it could be a real-life hurricane (there are many ways things can go wrong with computer systems). The ants, as always, had a plan (known as an incident response plan) which they’d developed and practiced, for when some day they would need it. The grasshoppers did not have a plan or reliable backups and it was painful: the average cost of a cyber-incident for small-to-medium-sized-business is $126k and nearly half have to shut down their operations for more than two days3.

The ants were able to get back up and running in good time after the storm. The grasshoppers lost things that were important. Maybe client records? If this was your situation, would clients lose confidence that you know how to handle their data? How do employees get to feel about grasshopper-management’s attitude about security?

If You Think the Ants Are Onto Something

Bryley advocates the tried-and-true 3-2-1 backup strategy, a robust, layered approach to data preservation. 3-2-1 is an IT cliché. But it’s said a cliché becomes a cliché because it’s true.

The first layer is the primary copy of your data that’s readily accessible – could be a local server’s internal drive or in the Cloud like at Microsoft 365. This allows for swift access and use of your information as needed.

The second layer is important redundancy. There are several ways to achieve 3-2-1. In this example a duplicate copy of your data might be on a local backup device. This safeguard ensures that even if your working copy is corrupted, like through hardware failure, a readily available backup can minimize disruption.

The final layer might be in the Cloud – though not on the same servers as your working copy if that’s in the Cloud, too. Here, a third copy of your data resides, stored remotely in a discreet, secure cloud data center. This layer offers additional resilience, acting as a failsafe in the event of unforeseen circumstances that could impact both your local storage and the first backup (a fire, for instance, if the first two copies are on-site).

By implementing the 3-2-1 principle, you construct a multi-layered defense system for your data. This approach allows that if a layer or more succumbs to unforeseen events, the other remains intact, to help minimize data loss and downtime. Reliable and readily accessible backups are a cornerstone of an organization, enabling it to navigate the real dangers of operating in the digital world.

Bryley Backup and Data Recovery

Bryley Backup and Data Recovery (BU/DR) can help your organization to peace-of-mind because it follows the three copies and one off-site principles, getting you to a restored state, so that your business experiences minimal interruptions. Is Bryley BUDR right for your organization? It, of course, requires more of an investment than a less well-executed approach to backing up what’s important, but it can pay for itself in helping deliver a back-to-business, restored state reliably and efficiently.

To begin to find out if moving to the always-prepared ant mindset and see if Bryley BUDR is right for your organization, consider a complimentary 15-minute consult with Roy Pacitto, or contact Roy at or 978.562.6077 x2.

1 Datto 2023 Cybersecurity Report
2 The reddit system admins group has got some good one’s about the worth of a backup:
3 Datto