Members of Lafayette’s community have three options for storing data and should consider the content of the data when deciding which method of storage to use. This is especially important if you have access to sensitive College data, as you must in that case follow the College’s Data Stewardship Policy.

  1. Local Storage: this is simply your computer’s hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD or DVD.
    • Pros:
      • Faster than network and cloud storage in common cases
      • Easy to use; by default most data exists here
      • Relatively inexpensive price per terabyte
      • You can access your data without a network connection
    • Cons:
      • Easy to lose or can be stolen; if this happens to sensitive data, the cost of the lost hardware is negligible but the impact to the College can be very large
      • Not reliable; a single piece of hardware will fail over time and your data could be lost
      • Difficult to share; e.g., multiple versions may get emailed around as attachments
      • Not acceptable for use with sensitive college data as define by Lafayette’s Data Stewardship Policy
  2. Institution provided Network Storage: this means using the Samba network shares.
    • Pros:
      • Easy to share with others at Lafayette; the Help Desk can have permissions adjusted based on need
      • Reliable; ITS uses resilient hardware and backs the data up to an alternate data center
      • Currently the best storage location if you must store sensitive College data as defined by Lafayette’s Data Stewardship Policy
        • Be mindful of who has access to the share that you use; call the Help Desk if you are not sure
        • If you have a Banner extract on this storage and are finished using it, consider deleting it to limit liability; the data itself will remain in the more highly secured Banner database.
    • Cons:
      • Not as fast as local storage in common cases
      • Higher price per terabyte for the institution as redundant high end hardware is used to provide reliable and fast performance to multiple users concurrently
      • Less space is available due to the higher price per terabyte
      • You can not access your data without a network connection
  3. Cloud Storage: this means storing data on an external company’s computers by using that company’s software.
    • Pros:
      • Inexpensive for small amounts of storage (e.g., Google Drive offers unlimited storage to everyone logging in with their Lafayette credentials)
      • Provided that you do not use it to store sensitive data, ITS recommends the use of Google Drive at Lafayette over other cloud storage providers because that data can be affiliated with your Lafayette identity, and accessed with your Lafayette credentials, as opposed to your personal account.
      • Easy to share with others at, or outside of, Lafayette
    • Cons:
      • Not acceptable for the use of sensitive College data as defined by Lafayette’s Data Stewardship Policy
      • Not as fast as local storage in common cases
      • Not as fast as Institution provided Network Storage, as the data must leave the campus network and traverse the Internet
      • You can not access your data without a network connection
      • If your data cannot leave the country due to an agreement with other stake holders (e.g. funders of a research grant) do not use cloud storage unless you are confident that the provider will keep the data in the country
      • You and Lafayette have less control of the data as it resides on a private company’s computers; this can impact reliability and privacy
        • ITS cannot support cloud storage as well as Institution provided Network Storage because we do not have direct administrative access to the system
        • Deletion may not be permanent; e.g. if you upload a file temporarily and then delete it, it may not really be deleted and though you may not see it after deletion the cloud provider may keep a copy of it for data mining
        • The cloud storage provider may be at liberty to discontinue the service at any time