Keep Your Data Safe | Love Data Week

heart with binary textThis Valentine’s Week, let’s prevent heartbreak by learning how to keep your data safe and organized. During Love Data Week, we will share practical tips and resources to keep your data happy and healthy to save you time, increase the impact of your research through data citation, and preserve data for long-term access.

What is data? Data is factual information used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.

Data can be:

  • Observational: Captured in real-time such as sensor readings, survey results, images, audio, video
  • Experimental: Created in the lab or under controlled conditions such as test results
  • Simulation: Machine generated from test models such as climate models, economic models
  • Compiled: Generated from existing datasets such as text and data mining and 3D models

Data can be all the “stuff” in your laptop right now! It could be your photo albums, your Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets. All the tips we will share this week on how to take care of your data can be applied to the documents in your laptop or to the datasets in your lab. No matter what it is, it can easily get lost if your hard drive fails or if you knock over a cup of coffee onto your laptop before your paper is due.

Here are some tips to keep your data safe…

3-2-1 Rule

  • Keep 3 copies of any important file (1 primary, 2 backup copies)
  • Store files on at least 2 different media types (e.g., 1 copy on an internal hard drive and a second in a secure cloud account or an external hard drive)
  • Keep at least 1 copy offsite (i.e., not at your home or in the campus lab)


  • Storing the only copy of your data on your laptop or flash drive
  • Storing critical data on an unencrypted laptop or flash drive
  • Saving copies of your files haphazardly across 3 or 4 places
  • Sharing the password to your laptop or cloud storage account

Things to Think About:

  • Cloud storage is amazing, but avoid uploading sensitive information.
  • Create new copies every five years to avoid data loss.

Today’s post was written by Marie Kennedy, Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian, and Jessea Young, Digital Initiatives Librarian. Content Inspired by Love Data Week