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Data Management Planning

Backup and Security Guidelines


Keeping reliable backups is an integral part of data management. Your personal computer, external hard drives, departmental or university servers are examples of tools used for backing up data. CDs or DVDs are not recommended bcause they fail so frequently. The UK Data Archive provides additional guidelines on data storage, back-up, and security.

Back up Your Data

  • Make 3 copies (e.g. original + external/local + external/remote)
  • Have them geographically distributed (local vs. remote depends on recovery time needed)

Data Backup Options

  • Hard drive (examples: via Vista backup, Mac Timeline, UNIX rsync)
  • Tape backup system
  • Cloud Storage - some examples of private sector storage resources include:

Secure Your Data

  • Unencrypted is ideal for storing your data because it will make it most easily read by you and others in the future. But if you do need to encrypt your data because its sensitivity:
    • Keep passwords and keys on paper (2 copies), and in a PGP (pretty good privacy) encrypted digital file
    • Don’t rely on 3rd party encryption alone
  • Uncompressed is also ideal for storage, but if you need to do so to conserve space, limit compression to your 3rd backup copy

Test your backup system

In order to make sure that your backup system is working properly, try to retrieve your data files and make sure that you can read them. You should do this upon initial setup of the system and on a regular schedule thereafter.


Sharing your Data

Depositing your data in an archive or repository will facilitate its discovery and preservation. While you can share your data informally by emailing it to requestors or posting it to a website, informal methods of sharing make it difficult for people to find your data and access it in the long-term.

If you wish to share your data in an open archive, but there is not an appropriate repository in your discipline, please Contact Us to discuss data sharing options utilizing our current and future digital repository systems.

Science Repositories

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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