Storing Data

Considerations for data storage

Storing research data using a constellation of different devices (such as CDs, DVDs, flash drives, personal computers, external hard drives) can lead to the fragmentation of data and ultimately data loss. Whenever possible, follow the 3-2-1 Rule for storing your data:

  • Keep 3 copies of any important file (1 primary, 2 backup copies)
  • Store files on at least 2 different media types (e.g., first copy on an internal hard drive and a second in a secure cloud account or an external hard drive)
  • Keep at least 1 copy offsite (i.e., not at your home or in the campus lab)

Looking for data storage?

Find more information about options for storing your active research data at Emory.

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Preservation: how it's different from storage

Preserving research data goes beyond storing files in a secure location. Following best practices for the preservation of your data files allows for future reuse, by yourself or others. It also demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the scholarly record of your research, and can be an important consideration by funders of future projects.

See What and How to Preserve, for more information about preserving your data.