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Research Data Management

Data Safety 101

A backup strategy is necessary to ensure the safety of your data. This will protect you against major problems such as loss, theft or destruction of your hardware, as well as breakdown or obsolescence of your storage solution (have you heard of zip drives or firewire cables?).

A decent backup strategy must be:

  • Frequent (daily if possible, weekly at least).
  • Automatic (because you know you will forget if it is not).
  • Multiple copies (because even when a backup might fail, all backups should not).
  • In different locations (in case of fire, flooding or other catastrophe).

IHEID institutional drives cover all these needs, but they are limited in size. When using other storage solutions for practical reasons, you should still consider using them as a safe backup solution.

When on the field, we recommend storing your data on 3 devices at all times (for example phone, PC, and an external hard drive) not kept in the same bag.


Another aspect of data safety is keeping different versions of your data at different points of your project. You can learn more about versioning on our Version management page.