You should only store master copies of digital research data on:

Griffith University systems

  • The Research Storage Service, specifically designed to support research collaboration
  • Enterprise systems such as G and H drives and Google Drive

Griffith-approved storage services for the Australian research sector

  • CloudStor (AARNet)
  • QRISCloud (QCIF)

Consult eResearch Services if you need advice about secure storage options. eResearch Services can refer you to Griffith storage experts and authorised off-site providers. Gathering the following information will help you explain your needs to eResearch staff:

  • current data volume - total size in Mb/Gb/Tb – and likely rate of growth
  • number of files and folders, and how they are organised
  • location of your workspace/s, e.g. office, lab, home, in the field
  • platform - Mac / Windows / Linux
  • applications used to access and work with your data
  • frequency of update, e.g. working data that changes daily, or data from a completed project that needs to be retained but would not be used often
  • data type/s: spreadsheets, database, documents, images, datasets, etc.
  • any special security needs, e.g. clinical data, personal data, commercial potential access control: Who needs access? Are they from Griffith? If not, are they based in Australia or overseas? At universities or at other kinds of organisations?

Desktop and laptop computers

You should not store master copies of digital data on individual desktop or laptop computers.

You should treat these as convenient working areas but not as primary stores. Local drives fail and are often not backed-up. Local machines are regularly replaced, upgraded, allocated to other people, or stolen - data is at risk of being lost or inappropriately accessed.

If you store additional working copies on local computers, schedule automatic synchronisation and/or backups, and password-protect and physically secure the machines.

Resources and contacts

Seek advice from eResearch Services if required.

Removable media

You should not store master copies of digital data on removable media like CDs and DVDs, flash memory devices (i.e. USB sticks), and portable hard drives. These are:

  • not always long-lasting, especially if they are not stored correctly (CDs/DVDs)
  • easy to damage physically (e.g. through magnetism or shocks)
  • prone to errors in writing to the media ('burning')
  • a risk in terms of data security – they are easy to misplace or lose, usually are not password-protected and are an easy target for viruses and malware.

If you store additional working copies on removable media, schedule automatic synchronisation and/or regular backups. You should password-protect and encrypt the media, and ensure they are as physically secure as possible.

Choose high quality products, and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for care and handling, including environmental conditions and labelling.

Regularly check the media to make sure that they are not failing, and periodically 'refresh' the data (i.e. copy to a new disk, USB stick, or portable drive).

Resources and contacts

Seek advice from eResearch Services, if required.

Cloud services

Griffith’s Cloud Hosting Policy states that:

The holding of University data and information on externally hosted cloud computing services requires appropriate contractual agreements be in place and University authorisation for the data to be stored off site. University data and information must not be stored in external repositories that do not have contractual agreements in place with the University.

With the exception of the research sector and enterprise solutions noted above, you must not store research data using services that are provided or managed externally to Griffith by third parties. The reasons for this include:

  • Protection of intellectual property: Some cloud services assert their ownership of the intellectual property in anything that is uploaded by users.
  • Legal requirements: Storage of data that contains personal information outside Australia could be a breach of the Privacy Act.

Risk management: The Terms and Conditions of some cloud services state that they will take no responsibility for data loss and that they can withdraw the service at any time. There are also documented security breaches of many of these systems.

Resources and contacts

Seek advice from eResearch Services, if required.

During the project collect data in formats that are long-lasting. Data that is organised and well-documented is easier to find and use.  Regularly assess your options for storing your data and moving it around. If your data is lost, stolen or misused you will lose valuable work and damage your reputation as a researcher.