Skip to main content

Manage Your Research Data: Backup, Storage & Security

Resources to help you prepare your data for open access and archiving

Storage, Backup and Security for Your Data

Storage, Backup and Security

  • Fundamental and interrelated components of a data management strategy
  • Together ensure ongoing integrity of research data
  • Project planning and data management must account for all three

Storage and Security Best Practices

  • Use hard drive or tape backup system
  • Unencrypted is ideal because most easily read by you and others in the future unless encryption is required
  • If encrypted because of human subjects then keep passwords and keys on paper (2 copies) and in encrypted digital files
  • Uncompressed is ideal for storage, so to conserve space limit compression to your 3rd backup copy
  • Electronic data should be saved on a device that has the appropriate security safeguards such as:
    • unique identification of authorized users,
    • password protection,
    • encryption,
    • automated operating system patch (bug fix),
    • anti-virus controls,
    • firewall configuration, and
    • scheduled and automatic backups to protect against data loss or theft. 

Backup Best Practice = 3 Copies

Graphic displays the three types of backup files

Always maintain your original file, an external, locally stored file, and an external, remotely stored file. 

Questions to Ask Yourself about Securing Data

  • How often should data be backed up?
  • How many copies of data should you have?
  • Where can you store your data?
  • How much server space can you get?
  • Should your data be encrypted?

Storage Options

Storage Options

  • Internal, local hard drives
  • Networked storage
  • External storage devices
  • Physical storage
  • Remote storage services (The Cloud)
    • Private sector services: Amazon S3, Elephant Drive, Jungle Disk, Mozy, Carbonite

Things to Remember

  • Data sharing is not data storage
  • Read terms of service
  • Consult your PI or institutional policies

Version Tracking