Storage, Back-ups & Security

Storage, Back-ups & Security

Accessibility of any data is dependent on the quality of the storage medium and availability of software to view the data. 

  • Store data in a non-proprietary or open standard format for long-term readability (see Data Organization)
  • CD's and DVD's are not reliable in the long-term, copy or migrate data to new media between 2-5 years after creation
  • Check the data integrity of stored data files at regular intervals
  • See Security concerns listed below
General Purpose Storage Services at UA

These are general purpose storage options that are available campus-wide to UA researchers for data storage. Your department or school IT department may have additional options.

On their own, these options are not intended as long-term archival storage and the risk of data loss is higher without a backup strategy. For other long-term options see Data Sharing & Archiving. Also see the UA Data Retention Policy.

    Service Quota Cost Regulated


    50 GB Free No UA-recommended storage location. Integrates with OSF.
    50 GB Free HIPAA Special box account that is certified for HIPAA compliance.

    OneDrive (Office 365)

    1 TB Free No Integrates well with other Office 365 services (Outlook, Office, etc). OneDrive integrates with OSF.

    Google Drive

    15 GB* Free No Via the university's Google Workspace for Education subscription. Integrates with OSF.

    *On April 1, 2023, Google ended unlimited storage. We do not recommend planning for using Drive as a long term storage option for large amounts of data moving forward.

    HPC Tier 1

    50 GB / 500 GB / 20TB Free No

    High performance storage, not backed up. Requires an HPC account (must be sponsored by a UA faculty member). PI's receive an extra 500GB. An xdisk allocation of up to 20TB can be requested (300 days max)

    HPC Tier 2 1 TB Free* No Amazon S3 storage. Requires an HPC PI account (for access) and KFS account (for billing). *The first terabyte and all egress charges are subsidized by UITS. Storage beyond 1TB will be billed by AWS.
    HPC Rented Storage None $47.35 per TB per yr No Not mounted to HPC nodes.
    HPC Buy-in 133 TB $120,000 No For those that need less than 133 TB, the above options are better.


    Varies Free No Long-term archival storage intended for data publication in support of journal articles and completed research projects. Not for general purpose use (see previous entries for such options). Quotas vary and justified quota increase requests will be considered.

    Refer to Archiving options at UA for a comparison of ReDATA, Tier 2, and rented storage.


    An essential element of data management is making back-ups of your files.  This will protect against damage or loss due to hardware failure, software or media faults, virus or hacking, power failure and human error.  Back-ups involve making copies that can be used to restore original data if there is a loss of data. 

    It is recommended that you have three back-up copies (original, external but local to your institution, and external at a remote location).  Check the integrity of your data on a regular basis using checksum.  Create a back-up schedule, use reliable back-up medium, and test your back-up system by testing file restores. The following are some locations for backing up your data:

    • Personal Computer
    • Departmental or University Server
    • Tape Backups
    • Subject archive (repository)
    • External Hard Drives
    • Cloud Storage
    • CDs or DVDs are NOT Recommended
    Privacy & Security

    You need to consider how you are going to provide physical security, network security and security of computer systems and files to protect your data from unauthorized access, changes to data, and disclosure or destruction of data. For protected health information (PHI) or other data that is protected by regulatory requirements (ITAR, CUI, etc.), see the relevant policies: Human Subjects Protection Program Data Security and Records RetentionExport Control ProgramHIPAA Privacy Program, Research Computing, or your departmental IT.

    Physical Security

    • Restrict access to buildings and rooms where data is kept
    • Only allow trusted individuals to trouble-shoot computer problems

    Network Security

    • Store confidential or sensitive data on computers not connected to an external network (such as the internet)
    • Keep firewall and security-related upgrades and patches to operating systems up-to-date

    Computer Systems and Files

    • Use passwords on files and computers
    • Don't send confidential data by email or FTP (use encryption if you must send files)
    • Keep virus protection up to date

    The Information Security Office has more guidance on security and disposal for administrative data. They have also developed the Information Resource Classification Standard and the Information Handling Standard (formerly know as the Data Classification and Handling Standard) that specify the protections and protocols needed to store and transmit certain kinds of information. To access the standards, you must be on campus or logged in via VPN.