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Research Data Management: Data Storage & Security

A summary of services available for research data management at the University of Lethbridge.

Inspiration for this file storage and security advice comes from Simmons University Library. Gratefully reused with permission.

How you choose to store and secure your data makes a significant impact on whether it will truly be available when needed in the future. You must keep in mind the formats your data are stored in, the devices and locations in which they are stored, as well as methods for keeping your data secure, which may include anonymization of data, encryption, and physical security.

Data Security

U of L Information Technology Services (ITS) supports several different services for storing and sharing files. They, along with Records Management, have created guidelines are intended to help identify the most appropriate places to maintain file storage here:


Imagine the heartache of losing everything you've worked on so far...

Back up your work. Best practice is to have 3 copies:

Here - local/working copy on your device

Near - other local or external copy (such as an external hard drive)

Far - remote copy (a secure option in the cloud)

For example you could have copies in:

  • Your laptop (here),
  • An external hard drive (near),
  • Simmons O Drive (far).

Data Storage

The accessibility of your data depends on both the quality of the storage media and the availability of appropriate data-reading equipment. While outdated technology might still work, it requires the right machinery to still be readable and usable. These days, technology turns over faster than ever so ensure that whatever format you choose, it will have longevity.

File formats are just as susceptible to obsolescence as physical media. Use recommended formats to ensure that your data is accessible.