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Research Data Management

What is Data Security and Backup?


Data security refers to the protection of data from unauthorized access, use, change, disclosure and destruction and includes network security, physical security, and file security.

Storage and Backup

Data storage refers to holding your data files in a secure location that you can readily and easily access.  Data backup, in contrast, refers to saving additional copies of your data in a separate physical or virtual locations from data files in storage.

Guidelines for Data Security and Backup


Security needs to be considered for all copies of your data, including your working data set, backup copies and archived copies.

  • Network security
    • Keep confidential data off the Internet
    • Put sensitive materials on computers not connected to the internet
  • Physical Security
    • Restrict access to buildings and rooms where computers or media are kept
    • Only let trusted individuals troubleshoot computer problems
  • Computer Systems & Files
    • Keep virus protection up to date
    • Don’t sent confidential data via e-mail or FTP - use encryption, if you must send data
    • Use passwords on files and computers
Storage and Backup

Keeping backups of your data. There is a real risk of losing data through hard drive failure or accidental deletion.

  • Remember to use the Backup 3-2-1 Rule* 
    • 3 copies of your data - 2 copies are not enough
    • 2 different formats - i.e. hard drive+tape backup or DVD (short term)+flash drive
    • 1 off-site backup - have 2 physical backups and one in the cloud
    • *see: 
  • Backup options
    • Hard drives - personal or work computer
    • Departmental or institution server
    • External hard drives
    • Tape backups
    • Disciplinary archives (repositories)
    • Cloud storage