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Storage

The security and durability of your files depends on how and where you store your data.

Criteria

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?

Various online tools are available to estimate the size of your files. Search for “file size calculator [file type]” to find an appropriate tool. 

Computer

To store your files, you will generally use the computer in your UvA or AUAS office. 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.

Cloud

Using a cloud service to store files has many 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. Moreover, it is often possible to recover earlier versions of files and you can easily share files or folders with others. 

Research Drive

Research Drive is a data storage service for researchers that has been developed by SURF. This data storage environment is located in the cloud and gives you a place to store your research data securely. Research Drive makes it easy for you to collaborate with other researchers, partners and students.

SURFdrive

Another safe cloud service is SURFdrive. The files in SURFdrive do not leave the Netherlands. In SURFdrive, you can use up to 500GB to store files and share them with colleagues. You can log in using your UvAnetID or HvAID.

If you are collaborating with students, the use of Research Drive (see above) is recommended.

You could also choose a storage service such as Dropbox or Google Drive. However, there are certain risks involved in using a public 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 public 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.

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.