Store Your Data

Help your future self. Store and back up your data according to good practices. Have confidence that your hard work won't be lost to a computer crash, theft, disaster, or other misfortune.

Data storage services at KU

Research Security Support at KU

Data classification and handling at KU

Store data using the 3-2-1 rule

  • Maintain 3 copies of your data
  • Keep 2 copies locally on different kinds of media
  • Keep at least 1 copy in a different geographic location or in the cloud if data classification permits

Choose reliable storage media

Servers, computer hard drives, and external hard drives are more reliable than ephemeral media such as USB drives, SD cards, and optical discs (CDs or DVDs). Consider who is responsible for managing the storage medium. In the case of your personal computer, you are responsible. In the case of cloud services and storage offered by KU Information Technology, professionals with training in security and hardware management are responsible. It's a good idea to include at least one professionally-managed option in your storage portfolio.

Consider appropriate security

Data may be appropriate for public visibility, may need password protection, or may need special security because of its sensitive nature. KU's Data Classification and Handling Policy contains helpful guidance for thinking through the security levels and storage resources your data need.

Back up data

Abiding by the 3-2-1 rule will help you store multiple copies of your data, but it can't help you if you don't keep those copies in sync. Follow these steps to help you know that any copy of your data is up-to-date and ready to use:

  • Back up your files automatically, if possible, by using a backup utility on your computer or a sync function on your cloud service. Note that cloud services sometimes are NOT appropriate storage locations for sensitive data!
  • If you can't back up automatically, copy files manually.
  • Schedule your backups at regular intervals, using your computer's backup utility (for automatic) or your calendar (for manual). Choose a time frame that's appropriate for how often you are changing your files and how important those files are. For example, you might back up critical, frequently-changed files every day but back up infrequently-used files only once per week.
  • Periodically check and test your backup copies. Can you find, open, and use your files? A backup that isn't working doesn't help you.
  • Back up your physical materials, too, such as notes, notebooks, and sketches. KU Libraries offer public scanners in many locations across campus. You can also scan physical materials using an app on your mobile device. The OneDrive app includes a scanner and can save files directly to your KU OneDrive storage space.

Create and practice a storage plan

For example:

"I will save my files on my personal computer and copy them to KU OneDrive for Business and my personal external hard drive. I will schedule OneDrive to sync my changed files automatically and will manually copy files to my external hard drive twice per week. I carry my computer with me; my external hard drive will remain at my house; OneDrive is stored on Microsoft's servers in the cloud."

GIS and Data Contacts

GIS Resources
April Friedl, Senior GIS Analyst
Watson Library

Research Data
Jamene Brooks-Kieffer, Data Services Librarian
Watson Library

Digital Humanities
Watson Library
Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities

Data Storage at KU

KU offers several data storage options for active and past projects. Contact us if you need assistance determining which is right for you.

data storage options at KU
ServiceStorage TypeAccessCostSpaceQualificationConfidential or Sensitive Data?
One Drive for BusinessActiveWeb, File system syncNone1 TB, with limitationsAll KUYes, with limitations
Research File StorageActiveMapped network driveNone for 1 TB for data storage & collaboration. Additional space available; $50/TB/yr above 15 TB1 TB+KU Departments, Faculty, GTAs, GRAsYes, by arrangement
KU Scholar
ArchivalWebNone2 GB per fileAll KUNo