Indiana University
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At IU, what options do I have for storing files?

Important: Indiana University students, faculty, and staff have a variety of choices available to them for storing files. Some of these choices are suitable for use with sensitive institutional data, and some are not. Before choosing a storage solution, see the Important information about storing sensitive institutional data and Determining which storage system is appropriate for your data (below).

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Quick guide to storage options

Important: The information in this section is intended primarily for IU students, faculty, and staff who are not seeking to store sensitive institutional data. If you need to store sensitive institutional data, see Important information about storing sensitive institutional data at IU and Determining which storage solution is appropriate for your data (below).

If you need to: Consider using:
Access your word-processing documents, spreadsheets, media files, and presentations and work on them from multiple locations Removable storage media or a cloud storage solution (e.g., Box or Oncourse Resources)
Share files with a class you're teaching or a project team Cloud storage solutions (e.g., Box or Oncourse Resources)
Share files with colleagues (outside of Indiana University as well as within) via a web interface (graduate students, faculty, staff) Slashtmp or Box
Store and access data and program output related to your research Research computing and storage systems
Scan, store, and retrieve official records, documents, and files containing institutional data OnBase

Your campus may have additional or alternative options. For details, contact your campus Support Center.

Note: For a complete comparison of UITS dedicated file storage services and services with storage components, including information about default allotments, maximum file sizes, back ups, and costs, see At IU, which dedicated file storage services and IT services with storage components are appropriate for sensitive institutional data, including ePHI research data?

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Removable storage media

A portable USB drive (thumb or flash drive) is an excellent option for storing and transporting your files. Flash drives are useful for word processing files (e.g., papers, assignments, and notes), PowerPoint presentations, and other files you need to access and work on from multiple computers.

For more permanent storage, consider burning a CD-R or DVD. Both are useful for completed projects or backing up copies of important files.

Although removable storage media are convenient and useful, your access to the data stored on them is subject to the availability of the appropriate drives. A portable USB drive, which requires only a USB port, is most likely the most commonly supported removable storage option. For more about removable media at IU, see:

Note: Removable storage media can be easily misplaced, damaged, or magnetized, causing you to lose data. You should always have back-up copies of important files saved in different locations. For important files, you should have one copy on your computer for convenience and easy access, one on removable media for quick recovery, and one on a server that is regularly backed up (e.g., Oncourse).

Important: At IU, never store sensitive institutional data on USB flash drives or other removable storage media unless the information is properly encrypted and your senior executive officer or the IU Institutional Review Board (IRB) has given prior written approval.

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Cloud storage

Storing your files on a secure, regularly backed-up online (or "cloud") service minimizes your risk of losing data, and lets you access your files from any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet.

Online storage services at IU include:

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Research systems

Access to research computing and storage systems is available to graduate students, faculty, and staff on all IU campuses. Undergraduates and non-IU collaborators must have IU faculty sponsors. For details, see the "Research system accounts (all campuses)" section of What computing accounts are available at IU, and for whom?

Storing ePHI research data

UITS Research Technologies supercomputers (Big Red II, Quarry, Mason, and the Research Database Complex), long-term storage systems (the Research File System and Scholarly Data Archive), and the high-speed, high-throughput Data Capacitor II file system are considered HIPAA-aligned and are appropriate for storing ePHI research data. Although these systems are secure enough for storing ePHI research data, using them does not fulfill your responsibility for protecting the privacy and security of ePHI data, as required by federal and state laws and university policies. If your research involves HIPAA-regulated ePHI data, make sure you understand your responsibilities; see What are my responsibilities when using UITS systems for work with electronic protected health information?

The UITS Advanced Biomedical IT Core provides consulting and online help for Indiana University researchers who need help securely processing, storing, and sharing ePHI research data. If you need help or have questions about managing HIPAA-regulated data at IU, contact the ABITC. For additional details about HIPAA compliance at IU, see HIPAA & ABITC and the Office of Vice President and General Counsel (OVPGC) HIPAA Privacy & Security page.

Important: Although UITS HIPAA-aligned resources are managed using standards surpassing official standards for managing institutional data at IU and are appropriate for storing HIPAA-regulated ePHI research data, they are not recognized by the IU Committee of Data Stewards as appropriate for storing institutional data elements classified as Critical that are not ePHI data. For help determining which institutional data elements classified as Critical are considered ePHI, see Which data elements in the classifications of institutional data are considered protected health information (PHI)?

Storing batch job output and other data that are not considered sensitive institutional data

Home directories on IU's research supercomputers (Big Red II, Quarry, Mason, and the Research Database Complex) allow you to store 10 GB of data. The 10-GB disk quota is shared among the systems on which you have accounts.

If you need more than 10 GB of permanent storage for your research, consider applying for an account on one of IU's advanced, reliable distributed storage services. The Research File System (RFS) and the Scholarly Data Archive (SDA) provide large storage allotments for storing research data over long periods of time.

For more, see:

Local and shared scratch space on the research systems

Important: Even temporary storage of HIPAA-regulated ePHI research data requires compliance with federal and state laws and university policies; see What are my responsibilities when using UITS systems for work with electronic protected health information?

Temporary storage for research data is available in the form of local scratch disk space on Big Red II, Quarry, Mason, and the Research Database Complex. Data Capacitor II, IU's high-speed, high-throughput, Lustre-based file system, is mounted on those systems as well, providing shared, temporary scratch space for storing application input and output files.

UITS does not maintain any backups for local or shared scratch directories, so you will not be able to retrieve your files if they are deleted.

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Temporary storage

Graduate students, faculty, and staff can use the Slashtmp service to temporarily store and share large files via a web interface.

Important: When using Slashtmp to store data subject to HIPAA regulations, or other information classified as critical at IU (e.g., Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers), you must choose the "Critical" version from the Slashtmp home page before proceeding with your upload.

Scratch disk space for temporary storage of data is available locally on Big Red II, Quarry, Mason, and the Research Data Complex. Additionally, Data Capacitor II is mounted to each system, providing shared scratch space for running programs and temporary storage of program output. UITS does not maintain any backups for scratch directories, so you will not be able to retrieve your files if they are deleted.

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Electronic Document Management (EDM)

At IU, Electronic Document Management (EDM) is defined as the strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to the university's organizational processes.

IU currently employs Hyland OnBase and SharePoint with KnowledgeLake as enterprise EDM solutions:

  • OnBase: At IU, OnBase is the official records repository for all institutional data. Numerous IU departments use OnBase for scanning, storing, and retrieving paper documents, and for importing, storing, and retrieving electronic files. OnBase also supports workflow management, allowing users to rout documents to queues designed to meet individual departmental needs.

    IU's university-wide enterprise license makes OnBase software available at no cost to all IU departments, schools, and campuses. (Costs related to scanners, consulting, and other service components not covered by the license agreement may apply.) For more, see OnBase Support.

    Note: OnBase is appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data classified as Critical, but is not appropriate for storing HIPAA-regulated ePHI research data.

  • SharePoint/KnowledgeLake: At IU, SharePoint with KnowledgeLake is a complementary edge EDM solution for non-institutional documents. It offers a fully distributed and independent management model, and supports interactive collaboration on documents.

    IU's production SharePoint/KnowledgeLake environment is licensed for use only by UITS, the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology (OVPIT) and its supported partners, and the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences (COAS).

    Note: Once a document set becomes an institutional record, a migration path to the OnBase repository is required.

    For more about SharePoint and KnowledgeLake at IU, see:

Note: Electronic documents related to the scholarly record (kba docid="aujq" text="IUScholarWorks">) are outside the scope of IU's EDM strategies.

For more about EDM at IU, see About IU Electronic Document Management strategies.

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Important information about storing sensitive institutional data

In accordance with IU policy, the Committee of Data Stewards and the University Information Policy Office (UIPO) have defined official classification levels for institutional data; for details, see Classifications of Institutional Data. They also established official standards for managing institutional data, which apply to all all users and administrators of IU information technology resources, and include rules for managing access, maintaining data integrity and security, manipulating and extracting data for reports, and choosing appropriate locations and methods for storing various institutional data elements.

If you work with institutional data at IU, you are responsible for meeting these official data management standards to prevent the inappropriate disclosure of personal or confidential information. Especially stringent standards apply when your work involves sensitive institutional data (i.e., institutional data elements classified Restricted or Critical). For details, see Standards for Management of Institutional Data.

When working with sensitive institutional data at IU, always follow best practices, such as:

For more on best practices for handling sensitive institutional data, see:

Important: Research data containing electronic protected health information (ePHI) regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) are also classified as Critical by the Committee of Data Stewards. Before storing ePHI research data on any IU information technology system or service, make sure you understand your legal responsibilities for protecting the security and privacy of that data; see What are my responsibilities when using UITS systems for work with electronic protected health information?

The UITS Advanced Biomedical IT Core provides consulting and online help for Indiana University researchers who need help securely processing, storing, and sharing ePHI research data. If you need help or have questions about managing HIPAA-regulated data at IU, contact the ABITC. For additional details about HIPAA compliance at IU, see HIPAA & ABITC and the Office of Vice President and General Counsel (OVPGC) HIPAA Privacy & Security page.

If you work with institutional data at IU, including sensitive data elements classified as Restricted or Critical, see the next section to determine which UITS file storage solutions are appropriate for your data.

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Determining which storage solution is appropriate for your data

Use the following information to determine the most sensitive classifications of institutional data you can store on various UITS-managed file storage solutions at IU. Before choosing a storage solution, make sure you understand the Important information about storing sensitive institutional data from the previous section.

Important: Some services approved for storing ePHI research data are not approved for storing other institutional data elements classified as Critical. Consequently, some HIPAA-aligned services have "Restricted" listed as the most sensitive institutional data classification allowed, even though they're approved for research-related ePHI (which is classified Critical). If you need help determining the most sensitive institutional data classification allowed on any UITS system, contact the University Information Policy Office (UIPO). For a complete comparison of UITS dedicated file storage services and services with storage components, including information about default allotments, maximum file sizes, back ups, and costs, see At IU, which dedicated file storage services and IT services with storage components are appropriate for sensitive institutional data, including ePHI research data?

Storage solution Approved for ePHI research data Most sensitive data classification allowed
(other than ePHI)
Notes
Box
File sharing and storage
No University-
internal
For more, see About Box at IU and What types of data are appropriate for my enterprise Box account?
Data Capacitor II
Temporary storage of research data
Yes* Restricted *The Data Capacitor II (DC2) file system (/N/dc2/) is approved for handling ePHI research data. The Data Capacitor wide-area network (DCWAN) file system (/N/dcwan/) is not approved for handling ePHI research data.

Files stored on the DC2 (/N/dc2/) file system for more than 60 are periodically purged (following user notification). If you have questions, contact the UITS High Performance File System team.

OnBase
Secure electronic document storage
No Critical For more, see UITS Service Overview: OnBase.
Research File System
Long-term storage for research data
Yes Restricted For more, see The Research File System (RFS) at Indiana University.
Scholarly Data Archive
Long-term storage for research data
Yes Restricted The Scholarly Data Archive doesn't have an offline, traditional backup system, so any deletion you perform will cause an irreversible loss of data. However, two tape copies are saved by default (one at IU Bloomington; another at IUPUI) and are never purged by administrators. If you have questions or need help, email the UITS Research Storage team.
Slashtmp Critical
Sharing critical data
Yes Critical Slashtmp files are purged 30 days after you upload them. If you have a question or need help with Slashtmp, contact your campus Support Center.
Slashtmp Simple
Sharing non-critical data
No Public Slashtmp files are purged 30 days after you upload them. If you have a question or need help with Slashtmp, contact your campus Support Center.
Supercomputers
(Local home directories)
Yes Restricted For more, see At IU, how much disk space is available to me on the research computing systems? If you have storage-related questions about your scratch space on an IU research computing system, email the UITS High Performance Systems group.
Supercomputers
(Local scratch space)
Yes Restricted Purge policies for local scratch space varies by system; see At IU, how much disk space is available to me on the research computing systems? If you have storage-related questions about your scratch space on an IU research computing system, email the UITS High Performance Systems group.

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