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Research Data Management Resources

Data management best practices, funder mandates, data sharing options, and local resources for research data management.

Storage and Backup

Good data storage and backup stratgies ensure that data will remain accessible over time and help protect against accidental or malicious data loss.

Backup and Storage Tips

Rule of three: keep at least three copies, on two different storage mediums, and at least one offsite

  • Keep at least three, geographically distributed copies of your data. 
  • Use different types of storage media (IE: external storage devices or networked storage).
  • Store files in nonpropiretary formats when you can.
  • Develop a regular backup routine for your data and synchronize among your backup copies. 
  • Create digital copies of analog materials (IE: printed notes or survey results).
  • Delete  nonessential data files at the
    conclusion of a project. 

Where to Store Data?

Laptops: Laptops are convenient, portable, and required for incoming T.H. Chan School of Medicine students. However, because of their portability they are at risk of being lost or stolen, so a secure backup of your laptop data is recommended. 

External Storage: Cheap and easily portable, external storage devices such as flash drives or hard drives are convenient options for data storage. They should not be used for master copies of data, however, as they can be easily lost or damaged. 

Networked Drives: Network drives are managed by the institution and backed up on a regular basis. At UMass Chan, network drives are available to institutional workgroups, departments, and research teams.

Cloud Storage: An online system for storing and backing-up computer files making it easy to access files from anywhere with internet access.

Third-party, web-based storage platforms such as Google Drive or Dropbox are not recommended for UMass Chan-related data. For large file sharing needs, contact IT. 


Information Security

UMass Chan has a responsibility to protect electronic health information and requires that all laptops and mobile devices used to access sensitive data be encrypted. IT Information Security has important information to be familiar with.