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Research Data Management


TU Storage Solutions

Temple offers a number of storage options. When selecting the proper storage solution, considerations include: file size and total storage space needed; whether data are sensitive or contain personal health information (PHI); who will need access; and cost.

Active data storage

The 3-2-1 rule for data storage

  1. Keep 3 copies of important files: 1 original & 2 back-ups
  2. On 2 different storage media types, for example: hard drives, removable storage devices or cloud storage
  3. With at least 1 off-site or in cloud storage

Storage type: networked drives

It is highly recommended that you store research data on regularly backed-up networked drives, such as:

This will help ensure your data are:

  • Stored in a single place & backed up regularly
  • Available when required
  • Stored securely: minimizing risk of loss, theft or unauthorized use

Request information about available options via TU Help

Storage type: cloud storage

Cloud storage includes services like Google Drive, OwlBox, and DropBox. Cloud storage offers some distinct advantages and disadvantages to be considered:


  • No user intervention is required
  • Remote backup maintains data offsite
  • Most provide versioning and encryption
  • They are multi-platform


  • Some servers may be located outside the US
  • Restoration of data may be slow (dependent upon network bandwidth)
  • Stored data may not be entirely private (thus pre-encryption)
  • Service provider may go out of business
  • Protracted intellectual property rights/copyright/data protection licences

Storage type: personal computers & laptops

Personal computers (PCs) & laptops are convenient for temporary data storage, however should not be used for storing master copies of your data.

  • Local drives may fail
  • PCs, laptops may be lost or stolen, leading to loss of your data

Storage type: external hard drives, USBs, etc

External storage devices such as hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs & DVDs are attractive due to low cost & portability. However, they are not recommended for long term storage of your data, especially not your master copies:

  • Their longevity is not guaranteed, especially if not stored correctly. CDs degrade & tapes shrink over time
  • Can be easily damaged, misplaced, lost
  • Errors writing to CDs & DVDs are common
  • They may not be big enough so multiple disks or drives may be needed
  • They pose a security risk

If you choose to store data on USB drives, CDs, DVDs, etc:

  • Choose high quality products from reputable manufacturers
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for care & handling, including environmental conditions & labeling
  • Regularly check the media to make sure that they are not failing
  • Periodically 'refresh' the data by copying it to a new USB flash drive or disk
  • Ensure any private or confidential data is password-protected and/or encrypted


Contents adapted from 'Storage & Security' in Research Data MANTRA [online course] created by EDINA and Data Library, University of Edinburgh.