Backup and Storage

Where you store your data will depend on the nature of your data.  You should check the storage options to make sure it is appropriate for the type of data you will collect.  The USU Data Quick Reference Chart tells you at a glance where it's appropriate to store your data. The  Data Classification Quick Reference Guide describes types of data in each category.  View the USU Data Handling Requirements to determine if your data type requires special handling or storage.  

Wherever your data is stored, you need a plan for backing it up.  Document this plan and describe it in your data management plan.

The 3-2-1 Rule is a simple way to remember how to care for your important files:
Three Copies of your files on
Two Different Locations with
One - More than One Storage Media

This can be accomplished in a number of ways:
Save your data to your desktop, to an external hard drive, and to Box.  Save your data to your desktop, a departmental sever and to Box.  For a short video explaining the 3-2-1 rule in more detail, see the University of Wisconsin Data Services Video.

If you are using USU's Box cloud storage as an option, you may wish to describe the features to your funders. Here is an example you can use or modify: is a cloud storage system used by Utah State University. Files are backed up nightly at multiple sites. ensures data integrity, includes version control, and is password controlled, encrypted and both FERPA and HIPAA compliant.

Storage Options

Option Size and Cost Access & Security Notes
USU Box Free to USU faculty, staff get unlimited storage and students 50 GB storage Password controlled, encrypted, and HIPAA compliant Cloud storage system used by USU
External Hard Drive Varies Not secure; no sharing Easily stolen; keep in locked area
Computer hard drive Varies Secure if encrypted; password protected  
Hard copies Varies Limited access and sharing; must be protected from damage (fire, flood) and theft. If hard copies are origianal; should have digital back up
Departmental server Varies Many departments no longer provide access Verify back up schedules
High-performance Computing (HPC) Varies Limited to authorized users; secure  
Flash drive or thumb drive   Easy to share but very poor security and very high risk for loss or theft Not recommended for storage; only for short term transfer
DVD or CD   Not recommended; obsolete  
Tape back up system   Difficult to access data