Data Backup Options

Introduction

The best way to ensure that you don’t lose important documents is to always back up your data in multiple locations. The more vigilant you are in your backup habits, the less likely you will face frustrating, and sometimes unsuccessful, recovery efforts. Class papers, notes, research, theses, dissertations, address books, and bookmarks are all files that are difficult to recreate. Software applications, on the other hand, can be reinstalled; although you may need to spend time configuring or customizing the software each time.

Keeping multiple copies of important files in different folders on your hard drive won’t help. Hard drives can break or fail, just like any piece of hardware. Consider the worst-case scenario, where your computer is stolen, and you need something from your hard drive. One of the most common problems these days are virus/spyware infections. Most customers decide to reimage or recover their machines to resolve these infections. Having your data and especially your system files backed up ahead of time can make this process quick and easy.

University Provided Data Storage Solutions

For a full list of the data storage solutions available at the University, visit this page: https://help.unc.edu/subject/data-storage/

Cloud-Based Data Storage Solutions

These are just a few of the most popular cloud-based data storage solutions. For more options, search for “cloud backup” or “cloud storage” in a search engine.

  • OneDrive
    • Provides 1TB of secure online storage to UNC undergraduate students, faculty, and staff. UNC OneDrive is the only acceptable cloud storage space for storing University-owned sensitive data.
      onedrive.unc.edu
  • Dropbox
    • Offers 2GB of free storage space with Dropbox Basic. Additional space is available for a monthly fee.
      dropbox.com
  • Google Drive
    • Offers 15GB of free storage space. Additional space is available for a monthly fee.
      google.com/drive
  • iCloud
    • Provides 5GB of free space to Mac users and files are accessible from any Apple device. Additional space is available for a monthly fee.
      apple.com/icloud
  • Connected Backup

Manual Data Backup Solutions

All of these solutions are manual, meaning that you have to manually find, select and copy the files that you want backed up. There is software available that can assist with this process. At this time ITS does not provide support for any software with that ability. Also note that all of these solutions are limited in the amount of data that they can store and they typically can not backup your entire hard drive, only data files.

  • USB Hard Drives/External Hard Drives
    • The benefit of this solution is that it’s a one-time charge, assuming you buy a hard drive that is large enough to store all your needed files. You can buy external drives that are the same size or larger than your computer’s hard drive. The biggest problem with this solution is that it relies on yet another hard drive, which are prone to failure, just like an internal hard drive. This solution is also subject to a virus attack which could be designed to delete all of your data files. If your computer is stolen and your external hard drive is nearby, it may be stolen as well.
  • USB Memory Keys/Flash Drives
    • A USB Memory Key is a portable storage device, very similar to USB hard drives, that uses flash memory and connects via a USB port. Memory keys offer considerably more space for you to store files and are compatible with the ITS computers in the labs on campus, which makes printing a breeze. The size of these devices can range from 2GB to 32GB or more. USB memory keys are very portable, but also easier to misplace or have stolen because of it’s small size.