Definition

Storage is the act of keeping your data in a secure location that you can access readily. Files in storage should be the working copies of your files that you access and change regularly.
Backup is the practice of keeping additional copies of your data in separate physical or cloud locations from your files in storage.

Good storage and backup practices help protect your data and research from losses due to hardware failure, natural disaster, or file corruption. You spend a lot of time collecting your data, so ensuring you have a good system for backing up your data will prevent you from having to spend time trying to recover your files, recollect data, or redo any cleaning or analysis.

Storage systems often provide mirroring, in which data is written simultaneously to two drives. This is not the same thing as backup since alterations in the primary files will be mirrored in the second copy.

Backing up data can be done manually or automatically, depending on your comfort level with those systems. If doing manual backup, you’ll want to determine how often you should back up your data—you’ll need to weigh the benefits of having up-to-date backup copies against the work involved with frequent backups. Once you’ve determined how often you should back up your data, you should set a schedule for regularly doing so. Backing up your data doesn’t require backing up every bit of data every time. You can do an incremental backup, or choose to backup only the files that have been changed or added since the last backup. Incremental backups require less time and storage than a full backup.

Relevance

  • A granting agency may require that you retain data for a given period and may ask you to explain in a data plan how you will store and back it up.
  • Storing and backing up your data ensures that it will be there when you need to use it for publications, theses, or grant proposals.
  • Good preservation practices help make your data available to researchers in your lab/research group, department, or discipline in the future.

Storage Options

 ResearchDriveLabArchivesUW-Madison G SuiteUW-Madison BoxUW-Madison Office 365
DescriptionResearchDrive is the UW-Madison campus-wide file storage service which provides secure, shareable storage space on the UW-Madison network. LabArchives is the UW-Madison campus-wide Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) service which can be used to store data, observations, notes, and other digital materials generated during the research process. UW-Madison G Suite is a collection of cloud-based productivity and collaborative tools including: Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Sites, Google Keep, Hangouts Meet, Hangouts Chat, and more. UW-Madison Box is a cloud-based storage service that provides a secure place to store data, share, and collaborate with others, both within and outside of UW-Madison. UW-Madison Office 365 is a collection of cloud-based productivity tools. In addition to email and calendar features, Office 365 provides multiple online applications, such as OneDrive, the Office Suite, and additional productivity tools.
Eligibility and Use CasesResearchDrive is available to UW-Madison PIs and their collaborators, and is suited for a variety of research purposes, including backup, archive, storage for research computing, and others.

It is a secure and permanent place for keeping data.
LabArchives is available to UW-Madison PIs and their collaborators, and is suited for a variety of research purposes, including entering protocols, observations, notes, and other data using your computer or mobile device.

It is a secure and permanent place for keeping data.
UW-Madison G Suite is accessed by using a UW-Madison NetID, and is suited for a variety of research purposes, including entering protocols, observations, notes, and other data using your computer or mobile device.

It is NOT considered a secure and permanent place for keeping data.
UW-Madison Box is accessed by using a UW-Madison NetID, and is suited for a variety of research purposes, including entering protocols, observations, notes, and other data using your computer or mobile device.

It is considered a secure location for storing data, but it is not considered a permanent place for keeping data.
UW-Madison Office 365 is accessed by using a UW-Madison NetID that is eligible for email, and is suited for a variety of research purposes, including entering protocols, observations, notes, and other data using your computer or mobile device. It is NOT considered a secure or permanent place for keeping data.
Cost
5TB of storage is available to each PI at no cost, and each additional TB of storage and off-site data protection is available for $200/year. Available at no cost to the faculty, researchers, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students performing their research activities. Available at no cost to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students. Available at no cost to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students. Available at no cost to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students.
Data ClassificationAppropriate for Public, Internal, Sensitive, and Restricted data. Appropriate for Public, Internal, and Sensitive data. Appropriate for Public and Internal data. Appropriate for Public, Internal, and Sensitive dataAppropriate for Public and Internal data.
Storage Features5TB per PI at no cost, and $200/TB/year for additional storage.

Automatic de-duplication and performance tuning.

No file or folder limits.
Unlimited data storage.

4GB maximum per file.
Unlimited data storage.

5TB maximum per file.
Allows for 50GB of data storage.

15GB maximum per file.
Allows for 1TB of data storage.

10GB maximum per file upload.

2GB maximum for file download.
Protection FeaturesAutomatic offsite backups included.

Daily replication to second off-campus location.
All changes are saved automatically and files are versioned. All changes are saved automatically when editing files directly in Box.

If you download a file and change it, be sure to upload the updated file for everyone to have access to the new version.

All versions of a file are saved.
All changes are saved automatically and files are versioned.
Security FeaturesAligned with Campus Cybersecurity Policies and Tools, Campus Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), and Campus HIPAA Program.

Encryption of data in transit and at rest.

Firewalls and other security devices on all servers.

Monitoring of all network traffic for suspicious activity.

Regular testing, upgrades, and patching for vulnerabilities.

Regular third-party security audits.
Aligned with campus Cybersecurity Policies and Tools.

Encryption of data in transit and at rest.

Firewalls and other security devices on all servers.

Monitoring of all network traffic for suspicious activity.

Regular testing, upgrades, and patching for vulnerabilities.

Regular third-party security audits.
Encryption of data in transit and at rest. Important note about working with Protected Health Information (PHI): Only secure Box folders configured with the involvement of the HIPAA Security Officer (or designee) may be used when working with PHI. If you are part of the UW-Madison Health Care Component, contact your HIPAA Privacy or Security Coordinator with questions about the applications best suited for creating, storing, and sharing PHI.

Encryption of data in transit and at rest.
Encryption of data in transit and at rest.
Integrations and CompatibilityPlatforms: Windows, Linux, MacOS

Identity Management: Campus AD and Manifest

Computing Centers: CHTC and SSCC
Integrates with Microsoft Office, Google Drive, ChemDoodle, PubMed, and GraphPad Prism. Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Identity Management: NetID
Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Identity Management: NetID
Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS.

Identity Management: NetID
Data HostOn campus and supported by DoITUses Amazon Web Services for its application, database, and storage and backup servers. Both primary and secondary Amazon data centers used to deliver the service are located in the U.S.Google Shared Drives are hosted by Google in accordance with the Google Apps for Education data protection policy. Box data is hosted by Box in accordance with the UW-Madison Box Terms of Service. Office 365 is hosted by Microsoft in accordance with the UW-Madison Office 365 Terms of Service
Accessible FromAvailable on UW-Madison networks or off-site through WiscVPNAllows access over the Internet on a variety of devices. Allows access over the Internet on a variety of devices. Allows access over the Internet on a variety of devices. Allows access over the Internet on a variety of devices.

Backup Options

OptionDescriptionSize and costAccess and securityBandwidthNotes
External hard drivesAlso known as hard disk drives.VariesNot secure unless kept in a secure location and sensitive data are encrypted.Between 49 to 572 MB/sec, depending on connection type (e.g., USB, Firewire)Best for short-term storage (approx 1-5 yrs) since disk failure can occur.
Departmental server or storage networkYour department's IT unit may offer storage on their server or network.VariesProtected by user accounts and passwords.VariesContact your department's IT unit for information.
DoIT's File & Data StorageA range of secure and scalable storage options on DoIT's Data Center platform for individuals and research groupsVaries. Tier 4 storage costs $0.65/GB/yrNetID restricted. Can add permissions for other campus users, using their NetIDs. Not a secure environment for sensitive data unless data are encrypted.Uses campus networks but bandwidth can vary, depending on your local network.SharedDrive is an affordable solution for file-sharing by campus groups. Custom solutions for high performance computing and/or large scale data storage are also available.
UW-Google Apps
Google's suite of online applications has expanded to Google Drive, which gives you an increased storage quota and new synchronization features.5.0 GB free storage

NetID restricted; can add permissions for other campus users, using their NetIDs.
May not be a secure environment for sensitive data, unless encrypted.
VariesA UW-Madison/Google agreement protects the intellectual property rights of UW-Madison facstaff and students (unless shared with others outside the university).
Third Party Cloud StorageAmazon S3,
Dropbox
and others.
VariesVariesVariesUW-Madison has no negotiated terms of services with these providers. See Guidelines for use of non-UW-Madison applications for research for help evaluating your risks and rights.
MINDS@UWThe UW System libraries' digital archive.Free to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and studentsCan be shared with the public or restricted to specified UW-Madison users.VariesAccepts materials as discrete files in final unchanging form only.
Materials will receive a permanent URL and will be maintained indefinitely.
Portable mediaFlash drives, CDs, and DVDs.VariesNot secure unless kept in a secure location and sensitive data are encrypted.Between 49 to 572 MB/sec, depending on connection type (e.g., USB, Firewire)Best for short-term storage (approx 1-5 yrs) since media formatting can fail.