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The Otago LibGuides are changing! The system will undergo a major update from 17 June to 15 July. You can learn more by taking a look at our LibGuides prototype here.

Managing Your Research Data: Back up & store

Research data is subject to loss due to hardware failure, software faults, infection with viruses, power outages, and human error. Backing up and storing your data ensures that it will be there when you or others need to use it.

Backup refers to preserving copies of your data in separate locations from data files in use or in storage. Backing up protects copies of data so it can be restored in the case of loss.

Storage refers to preserving your data files for the short or long term, in a secure location you can access readily.


Security applies not just to data files, but also to computing systems, internal and external networks, and physical locations such as offices and labs (including desk drawers).

Major security concerns include:

  • Controlling unauthorised access, corruption, or deletion of data
  • Protecting personal information of subjects and confidentiality
  • Protecting sensitive data and Indigenous data
  • Compliance with security policies - institutional, governmental or commercial

The UK Data Service provides useful information on data security. Also check out University of Otago ITS Security Services


Choose reliable solutions for storing data, such as external hard drives or University servers.

Note: Computers on the University of Otago network are not automatically backed up by ITS; you must arrange for this service if required.





Be aware of the limitations in choosing web-based or other private sector backup or storage services. Check terms and conditions around legal jurisdiction (regarding where data are held) and protection of sensitive or confidential data.