Manage Your Research Data: Backup, Storage & Security
This guide provides a primer on the fundamentals of data management.
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,
- 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
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?
- 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