Desktop computers and portable storage devices
In general, you should avoid using your local computer or external media (portable hard drives, memory sticks) for master copies of your research data. Your local computer should only be used as a convenient work space,never as a primary storage area.
You should also avoid using your local computer or external media as a backup strategy. The risk of data loss or corruption using external media is high, particularly if the data has been encrypted (for security reasons) or archived (for space reasons).
You may, however, encounter situations where it is not possible to store your research data directly onto your a La Trobe University network drive. For example, you may be doing fieldwork in a location where there is no internet connection. In such situations the following recommendations should be followed:
- Store your data on the hard disk drive of your laptop.
- Store copies of your data on external media. Store one copy on an external hard-disk drive and another on a memory stick.
Note: Copying to different external media decreases the risk of losing data due to data corruption.
- If you are able, keep the different copies of your data in separate locations. This way, if your laptop is stolen (for example) you will not lose your backups along with it.
- Use high quality storage.
- Transfer your data to your La Trobe University network drive at the earliest available opportunity.
Issues to consider
Issues to consider when temporarily storing files on your local computer and on external media include:
- Local computer drives, including portable hard drives, often fail and if they do, your data will be lost.
- Information stored on your local computer or portable hard drive is not automatically backed up. You can do this for yourself, but the responsibility for backing up your data will be yours.
- Data stored on a local computer or removable storage device may not be completely removed at the end of your project, so if your computer has a new owner, unauthorised people may gain access to your data.
- Removable storage devices can be easily lost, stolen, or accidentally left connected to the computer you were working on, giving others potential access to your data.
You should not use portable devices or removable media to backup or transfer your data unless you do not have access to a La Trobe University network drive. All sensitive research data that is temporarily stored on a portable storage device should be either encrypted or password-protected.