Storage options

storage options

2. Making Back-ups

2.1 Making Copies

A back-up is a copy of your files made at a specific moment in time (or automatically updated at a scheduled time). Depending on your needs you may wish to back up daily, weekly, or monthly, but whatever the frequency you should appoint a time to do this which is followed rigidly.

The back-up copy is a ‘master copy’ of your data. In other words you do not edit individual files within the back-up and you do not treat it like you would with your original version. Think of the back-up as just that. It is a version of your files that you can use to restore information if it is lost or damaged in the original copy.

The UK Data Archive suggests that mater copies should be made in an open, as opposed to proprietary, format for long-term validity. This might not always be worthwhile during the research but is something that should certainly be considered for long-term preservation strategies. In most cases what you are after with a back-up is a version of your files that is complete and accurate as a version of your working files. A back-up should be identical to your original in all ways at the moment of its creation.

What is perhaps more important is to ensure that you have more than one back-up at least of important files. For example, it’s not enough to have the original copy on a PC or laptop and a back-up on an external hard drive. If there’s a fire or burglary then both devices might be lost. Neither is it wise using a Cloud storage option alone. On the surface you might think that having multiple devices containing the folder is a secure means to ensure data survives even if one device is lost. Not so. If one device is stolen then the Cloud storage files are at risk. There is also no guarantee that data won’t be lost in the cloud storage system, thereby suddenly leaving you with no data anywhere.

A good back-up strategy would be to go for a mix of options that is regularly and strictly followed. Have at least three copies of your files. There are many variations that you might try. Here are a few examples.

Option 1

  1. The original copy used for editing and creating new data
  2. A back up on a physical device such as DVD, external hard drive, USB Stick
  3. A Cloud or Internet option where files are stored online and accessible from other devices

 Option 2

  1. The original copy used for editing and creating new data
  2. A copy on your institutions server
  3. A copy on an external hard drive kept at home or in another building

Option 3

  1. The original copy used for editing and creating new data
  2. A copy on a CD/DVD stored in the same building as the original copy
  3. A copy on a CD/DVD stored in a different building