The security and durability of your files depends on how and where you store your data.
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When choosing where to store your digital data, you will need to consider the available space (as large as possible), price (as low as possible) and user-friendliness (as friendly as possible). Three other considerations are also important:
- reliability: can I be sure that my data will not get lost and are always accessible?
- safety: where is the server on which my data are stored and what legislation is in force there?
- export options: can the data I import - for example in data analysis software - also be exported and if so, in which file format?
To store your files, you will generally use the computer in your UvA or AUAS office. This computer allows you three storage spaces. The files you store on the C drive can only be reached via that particular computer. If your computer crashes, chances are that these files are lost.
At your UvA workspace you also have access to the H and P drives. These are the so-called network drives: files saved on these drives, are actually stored on the storage servers of ICT Services. Only you have access to the H drive, but the P drive is accessible to others, as well. Via a VPN connection you also have access to these drives from other computers. ICT Services regularly makes a backup of the files stored on these drives.
At your AUAS workspace you also have access to the V and W drives. These are the so-called network drives: files saved on these drives, are actually stored on the storage servers of ICT Services. Only you have access to the W drive, but the V drive is accessible to others as well. You also have access to these drives from other computers. ICT Services regularly makes a backup of the files on these drives.
Separate storage media
Files may also be stored on an external hard disk, USB stick, CD or DVD. Each of these storage media has its pros and cons.
Using storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Box to store files has certain advantages: you can access your files from any computer with an internet connection and in case of a computer crash or theft, your files are not lost. Several of these services allow you, moreover, to recover earlier versions of the files and you can easily share the files or folders with others.
However, there are certain risks involved in using a cloud storage service:
- the storage of data is not guaranteed to take place in Europe. This may mean that others - for example, security services such as the American National Security Agency (NSA) - have access to your files.
- the existence of the service which provides the service is not guaranteed. What happens to your files if the company is taken over or ceases to exist?
- the conditions of use of a storage service may include stipulations which give the provider undesired rights (of ownership) to the stored files.
- leaks in the security of the storage service may be discovered.
- the storage service may have technical problems which make your files (temporarily) inaccessible.
Confidential and sensitive information should therefore not be stored in a cloud service. Moreover, it is always advisable to keep backups elsewhere of the files you do store there. You could also consider securing the files by means of encryption.
SURFdrive counts as a safe cloud storage service, because the files do not leave the Netherlands. In SURFdrive, you can use up to 100GB to store files and share them with colleagues. You can log in using your UvAnetID or AUAS ID.
Storing code and scripts
To store, work with others on and publish software code, R- and SPSS-scripts etc. you can use Git-software. Well-known is GitHub, but that will charge you if you'd like to use a private repository. BitBucket offers similar functionality, but if you register with your UvA or AUAS email address, you'll be able to create as many private repositories as you need without any cost.
The website of the Software Sustainability Institute offers guidance on choosing a repository for your software.