Storing working data

Information on where to store working research data securely.

Choosing the right way to store your data will help you work more flexibly and efficiently. Where possible, only store what you need to keep. Researchers need to make a judgement about the most appropriate solution for their particular data, including whether it is necessary to hold more than one copy of a dataset.

The UWE Bristol research data security guidance should be consulted for all research projects involving the collection, disposal or preservation of data.

The UK Data Archive provides useful guidance to help inform a data storage strategy, including how to choose file formats and storage media.

Some common data storage solutions include:

Networked drives

By default, UWE Bristol IT Services provide researchers with 1GB of personal storage (H drive) and shared faculty centralised storage space (S drive). For an extra charge, the size of both networked drives can be increased. Contact the IT Services helpdesk for pricing information.

To ensure the security and integrity of data stored on the S drive, it is advisable to set up a restricted access area with the relevant access levels for authorised staff members. If you are working offsite, you can access UWE networked drives remotely via the External Access System (XA). This avoids the need to store any data on a local computer.

SharePoint sites

If data needs to be shared with multiple collaborators (either externally or across faculties), researchers can request for a SharePoint site to be set up with the appropriate permissions. Our working with project partners guidance lists the benefits of using SharePoint.

Contact the IT Services helpdesk for assistance with setting up a SharePoint site.

Local drives and removable media

Data and files can be stored on UWE Bristol-owned removable media. These should always be password-protected, encrypted if the data is particularly sensitive, and the relevant devices/media kept in a secure location. Research data should never be stored on personal (i.e. not UWE Bristol-owned) devices.

Cloud storage

UWE Bristol provides staff with an additional 1TB of storage space on OneDrive for Business. With OneDrive for Business, you can easily access work files on the move and share documents with external collaborators.  It is important to note that UWE Bristol has no control over commercially provided cloud-based storage (eg Dropbox, Google Drive) which may often host data outside the EEA. It is therefore important that you do not use other third-party cloud-based storage for research data that contains personal or sensitive information .

With external cloud based storage, you should be aware that the company hosting your data will have access to all the material and in some cases may even have the right to use or publish your data. There may also be an increased data security risk if you are in the habit of accessing the commercial cloud storage via multiple devices.

UWE Bristol’s research governance team provide guidance around research data security, including the storage of physical copies of research data.

If you are working with NHS data, particularly identifiable patient information, you should be aware of extra restrictions on where and how you are permitted to store the data.


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