Data Backup

Data are your valuable research materials and products, and getting data is hard work. Your data is expensive and most often, irreplaceable. Here is a simple rule to follow when backing up your data:

The 3-2-1 rule: save three copies of your data, two locally (on two different devices), and one off site. This means that you will have your original copy and two additional backup copies. (Costs permitting, you might decide to keep extra copies.)

What could this look like at UC-Berkeley? Your original copy data may be saved on a personal laptop or desktop computer. However, either of those could be compromised by a virus or they could be stolen or damaged. The local copy could be stored on an external hard drive, or a departmental/university server. Never use a thumb drive or flash drive as a storage device. These should only be used as a means to quickly transfer data from one machine to another.

The offsite copy of your data could be stored in the cloud. At UC-Berkeley, we have a few different storage options. Depending on how sensitive your data is (please visit Berkeley’s Information Security and Policy Data Classification page to determine if you have sensitive data), you can store a copy of your data in UC-Berkeley’s enterprise versions of Box and Drive. These offer unlimited storage at no cost to you. Yet they generally involve longer transfer time and, therefore, more attention than simple file storage. The trade-off is cost vs. time and effort. Check out the Active Research Data Storage Guidance Grid to learn more about each of these cloud storage options.

Please contact to learn more about how you can best ensure that your data is properly backed up.  

Research data lifecycle: