Storage & Backup


Cloud storage

Cloud storage is a term that refers to online space that you can use to store your data. As well as keeping a backup of your files on physical storage devices such as external hard drives or USB flash drives, cloud storage provides a secure way to remotely store your important data. Online storage solutions are usually provided using a large network of virtual servers that come with tools for managing files and organizing your virtual storage space.

  • One Drive

OneDrive is an online service provided by Microsoft that allows you to create, upload, access and share files from a web browser. OneDrive offers 1TB of online storage with access from any device connected to the internet. All files you store in OneDrive are private; however you can choose to share files with anyone you nominate.

  • Google Drive

Google Drive is a personal cloud storage service from Google that lets users store and synchronize digital content across computers, laptops and mobile devices, including Android-powered tablet and smartphone devices.


Universiti Sains Malaysia Institutional Repository (USMIR) is an online storage system that capable to increase the interoperability, accessibility and visibility of scholarly materials. It has working together with multiple index systems as well as search engine systems, especially Google. It has variety of electronic scholarly materials such as articles from Open Acces journals, academic magazines, books, thesis, examination papers, research reports, photographs and others. USMIR provides free access around the world and can be used freely for research and learning.USM researchers are encourage to submit Open Acces scholarly materials to USMIR by contacting Digitalization & Repository Librarians.


Local storage solutions

PI workstations, lab/project server, CDs, USB drives, portable hard drives, etc.

Free tools

  • SafeHouse (Windows only, but good for portable USB devices)
  • TrueCrypt
  • GnuPG


Backups of digital data

As a researcher, you are responsible for ensuring that digital research data is backed-up regularly.

Backup refers to preserving additional copies of your data in a separate physical location from data files in storage. Backup preserves older copies so you can restore your data if accidental deletion/alteration or a disaster such as fire, flood, or hardware malfunction damages your data in storage.

If you store research data on personal hard drives, you should investigate the many free and commercial tools and services available for automatically backing up your system to an external hard drive. Online remote backup services are available, but you should be aware that the privacy and security policies of these services may not meet the legal and ethical standards expected of responsible researchers.

Back up Best Practices:

  • Make 3 copies (e.g. original + external/local + external/remote).
  • Have them geographically distributed (local vs. remote depends on recovery time needed).
  • Test your backup system ensure files can be recovered without corruption or data loss; do this both when you first set up your backup system, and then periodically throughout the course of your project.

Backup Options:

  • Hard drive (examples: via Vista backup, Mac Timeline, UNIX rsync)
  • Departmental or university servers
  • CDs or DVDs are not reliable backup mediums due to frequent failure.