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Research Data Management

Learning About Storage Options

A key aspect of a data management plan is a storage strategy for active data and archival data. Data is easily lost, digital files are fragile, and formats and storage media become obsolete. 

"Active" or "working" data refers to your data as you collect and access it during the course of a project. Your datasets may be expanding as you collect new data, and you may need to access data regularly for processing and analysis. An important component of data management planning is deciding where and how you will store your active data so that it is readily accessible to you but also secure. When making this decision, consider these issues:

  • The anticipated size of the dataset
  • Computational requirements: Large-scale analyses may require high-speed processors and a substantial amount of disk space.
  • Backup: It is essential that you regularly make one or more backup copies of your data and store backups in geographically separate locations from the master dataset. Keep in mind the Backup Rule of Three: keep an original copy, a second local copy, and a remote copy to mitigate the risk of data loss.
  • Security: If you are working with sensitive data such as medical data or other human subject data, ensure that the storage system you use meets security standards

A good first step for investigating storage options for digital data is to contact our helpdesk at

Some Possible Storage Options

Personal Storage