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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 Important information about storing sensitive institutional data and Determining which systems are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data (below).

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Quick guide to storage options

Important: The information in this section is intended primarily for Indiana University students and others, faculty and staff included, who do not work with sensitive institutional data. If you work with confidential or personal electronic data, see Important information about storing sensitive institutional data at IU and Determining which systems are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data (below) before choosing a storage solution.

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)
Store and access data and program output related to your research Research computing and storage systems
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

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

For a complete comparison of UITS dedicated file storage services and services with storage components, including default allotments, maximum file sizes, back up information, and costs, see Comparing supported data classifications, features, costs, and other specifications of file storage solutions and services with storage components available at IU.

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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 critical 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).

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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 Account availability and eligibility

Storing ePHI research data and other sensitive institutional 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 therefore appropriate for work involving ePHI research data. Nevertheless, storing sensitive institutional data or ePHI research data on IU research supercomputers or long-term storage systems requires compliance with strict data management standards. If you're working with sensitive institutional or research data, make sure you understand the Important information about storing sensitive institutional data (below).

Important: Although UITS HIPAA-aligned resources are managed using standards meeting or exceeding those established for managing institutional data at IU, and are approved by the IU Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (OVPGC) for storing research-related ePHI, they are not recognized by the IU Committee of Data Stewards as appropriate for storing other types of institutional data classified as "Critical" that are not ePHI research data. To determine which services are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data, including ePHI research data, see Determining which systems are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data (below).

For help determining which types of data classified as "Critical" are considered ePHI, see Which data elements in the classifications of institutional data are considered protected health information (PHI)?

The UITS Advanced Biomedical IT Core (ABITC) 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.

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 ePHI research data requires compliance with strict data management standards. Make sure you understand the Important information about storing sensitive institutional data at IU (below).

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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Important information about storing sensitive institutional data

Certain types of information require strict security measures because inappropriate handling of these data can result in criminal or civil penalties, identity theft or personal financial loss, invasion of privacy, or unauthorized access by an individual or many individuals. Some institutional data elements require the very highest level of protection, and are classified as "Critical" institutional data by the Committee of Data Stewards and University Information Policy Office (UIPO). These include:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Credit card and debit card numbers
  • Bank account and other financial account numbers
  • Driver's license and state ID card numbers
  • Student loan information
  • Protected health information
  • Foundation donor data
  • Passport and Visa numbers
  • Passwords, passphrases, PIN numbers, security codes, and access codes

If you work with sensitive institutional data at IU, particularly electronic protected health information (ePHI) regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), make sure you understand your responsibilities for protecting the security and privacy of that data, and use only those storage solutions that meet the data management standards required to comply with all applicable laws and institutional policies; see Determining which systems are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data (below). For more, see Protecting red-hot data: A guide to safe handling of critical information.

Important: Although UITS HIPAA-aligned resources are managed using standards meeting or exceeding those established for managing institutional data at IU, and are approved by the IU Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (OVPGC) for storing research-related ePHI, they are not recognized by the IU Committee of Data Stewards as appropriate for storing other types of institutional data classified as "Critical" that are not ePHI research data. To determine which services are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data, including ePHI research data, see Determining which systems are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data (below).

The Committee of Data Stewards and the University Information Policy Office (UIPO) define official classification levels and management standards for institutional data in accordance with IU's Management of Institutional Data (DM-01) policy:

The UITS Advanced Biomedical IT Core (ABITC) 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.

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Determining which systems are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data

Use the following tables to compare UITS file storage solutions to determine which services are appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data, including ePHI research data. Most importantly, make sure you understand your responsibilities and other important considerations regarding the security and privacy of research-related ePHI and other types of sensitive institutional data at IU.

Important: Some services approved for storing ePHI research data are not approved for storing other "Critical" institutional data. Consequently, some HIPAA-aligned systems have "Restricted" listed as the highest institutional data classification allowed, even though they're approved for ePHI (which is classified as "Critical"). If you need help determining the highest institutional data classification allowed on any UITS service, contact the University Information Policy Office (UIPO).

Service Approved for ePHI Most sensitive data classification allowed
(other than ePHI)
Notes
Alfresco Share
File sharing and storage
Yes Restricted Alfresco Share supports multi-institutional collaboration; see Using IU Alfresco Share, how do I share documents with others? For support options, see How can I get help using IU Alfresco Share?
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.

HELPnet
Critical Data Infrastructure
File storage for critical data
Yes Critical The HELPnet Critical Data Infrastructure (CDI) is a direct-bill service. For fee information, go to the UITS Rates and costs of services page, click to open the current-year "Rates for Direct-bill Services" document for your campus, and then check under "HELPnet Central Systems Service Products". If you have questions, email HELPnet.
IUFS
(Release 1)
No Restricted For more, see At IU, what is IUFS?
Research Database Complex
Oracle and MySQL research databases
Yes Restricted For more, see The Research Database Complex (RDC).
Research File System
Long-term storage for research data
Yes Restricted For more, see The Research File System (RFS).
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 Disk space on IU's 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 Disk space on IU's 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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