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Research Data Management: Backing up Data

Help with data management plans

Data Backups

Backups

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 because they fail so frequently. The UK Data Archive provides additional guidelines on data storage, back-up, and security.

Backup 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

  • Florida Tech IT (see box on right)
  • Cloud Storage - some examples of private sector storage resources include:
    • Amazon S3 -Requires client software, no encryption support
    • Mozy (from EMC) Free client software, 448-bit Blowfish encryption or AES key
    • Carbonite Free client software, 1024Free 1024-bit Blowfish encryption

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 of 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.

Florida Tech Storage Options Matrix

Data Management Support from Florida Tech IT

Research Data Management Plans

Support from Information Technology

 

In the process of developing your Research Data Management plan many technical issues will need to be addressed for which the Information Technology staff may be able to provide assistance. Simple data storage costs continue to decline in the per unit (kilo, mega, tera, and peta) byte range. Again simple access for short, medium, and long term storage can be through standard, off-the-shelf applications. As described in the available guidelines and support provided by the Library staff the full process of creating the appropriate indexing, meta data, and archiving strategy can increase the complexity beyond the standard plug-and-play hardware and software.

The range of support from the IT department includes consultation from the initial design and set up to providing quotes for major storage and retrieval efforts. Each specific plan can be designed to utilize in house or outsources (cloud) solutions. The IT recommendations will include ongoing growth, backup, and extended support plans and costs. While faculty have the option to create stand alone, independent self-controlled solutions, they must realize that the problems they create following this path leave them vulnerable to independently maintain and expanding their solution as their project evolves.    

Funding for small to medium startup or short term project may be able to be accommodated from existing resources. Ongoing funded projects are expected to include support for hardware, software, and support where appropriate. Based on the Florida Tech network connectivity, high speed (up to 10 Gb per second) access can be provided for regional, state wide, national, and international resources for High Performance Computing (HPC) / Massively Parallel Computation (MPC) and up to Eb+ storage. 

Contact Eric Kledzik x8107 for more information.