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Questions and answers

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Which file storage options are supported by IT Services? Which are GDPR compliant?


Your file storage options

What is recommended and what is supported?

On this page you will find information about:

  • Home Share (N Drive) and Group Share (G Drive)
  • Storing files on your computer's hard drive
  • Cloud storage
    • Box
    • OneDrive
    • Other Cloud storage providers
  • ResearchData
  • Other physical storage media

 

Home Share and Groups Share
(aka N Drive and G Drive)

Supported?

GDPR compliant?

Backed-up?

Storage limit

Software required?

Known issues

Yes

Yes

Yes

N Drive:
50GB, can be extended on request

G Drive:
No quota set

No special software required for on-campus access

 

 

The Home Share (your personal, private file store) and the Groups Share (a space for teams of staff to store their shared files) are both provided by IT Services and are fully supported.  They are backed-up regularly, secure, and easily accessed from laptops and desktops on campus.  There are also a range of ways of accessing your files when you’re away from the campus.

If you are using a desktop computer provided by IT Services, your Documents, Pictures and Videos folders are all included in your N drive.

Your Home Share and Group Share are the best way to securely store your data while you're working on campus.

For more information, please see this page.

 

Storing files on your computer's hard drive

Supported?

GDPR compliant?

Backed-up?

Storage limit

Software required?

Known issues

No

Yes, with suitable steps taken

No, unless you set up backup software

Limited by the size of your hard drive

No

Insecure unless you’ve taken steps to secure your data

 

If you're using your own computer, if you use a laptop provided by IT Services, or if you have special permission to administer your desktop computer, you’ll be able to store files locally onto your hard drive.  If your computer is lost, stolen or damaged then it’s very likely that your data will be permanently lost unless you have configured special software to back up your files.  Laptops supplied by IT Services are provided with software to back up your files but you will need to check that this is properly set up and working.  IT Services will not be able to help if you have not taken steps to ensure your data is backed up.

You should also take steps to ensure that your device is encrypted and physically secure, in order to ensure that you are meeting your GDPR compliance obligations.

You can find more information about securing your data here.

 

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a popular way to store files.  However, your data is stored on systems that are beyond the control of IT Services, often in other countries or even on other continents.  Different laws may apply to the storage of your data, depending on the cloud platform you choose.  There can also be other limitations in storing your files on the cloud.

IT Services have assessed the two cloud storage options that we provide to Sussex users: Box and OneDrive.  These are safe to use and GDPR compliant.

 

Box

Supported?

GDPR compliant?

Backed-up?

Storage limit

Software required?

Known issues

Yes

Yes

Yes

Unlimited

Web interface.

Box Tools to used with Microsoft Office.

Unsupported sync client.

Sync client can cause problems with desktop computers.

 

Box is a cloud storage solution for staff, paid for by the University.  IT Services have ensured that Box meets the requirements for GDPR compliance.

You can install Box for Office on your computer which adds Box as a storage option in Microsoft Office applications.  This mean you can open and edit files that are stored on Box from within Word, Excel or Powerpoint.

There is no limit to the amount of data you can store in Box, although there is a maximum size of individual files of 4GB.  You will initially have a file storage limit of 100GB, but if you contact the IT Service Desk this can be increased.

We do not currently support the Box sync client and we recommend that you do not install it.  Installing the Box sync client may cause problems with your desktop computer and prevent you from being able to log in.  This will require a member of staff from IT Services to visit your office and repair the problem.

 

OneDrive (with your Sussex username)

Supported?

GDPR compliant?

Backed-up?

Storage limit

Software required?

Known issues

Yes

Yes

Yes

1TB

Web interface.  Works seamlessly with Microsoft Office.  Unsupported sync client.

Sync client can cause problems with desktop computers.

 

OneDrive is a cloud storage solution for Students and Staff, allowing you to store 1TB of data.  You can log in to the OneDrive website using your Sussex login details.  IT Services have ensured that the version of OneDrive that is provided to members of the University is GDPR compliant.  This may not apply to any personal OneDrive accounts that you may have.

Accessing OneDrive files through Microsoft Office applications is easy – you’ll find OneDrive as an option in the Open and Save windows (you may need to set this up via a button labelled Add a Place).  There are also excellent online editing tools for your Office documents that you’ve stored in OneDrive at office.com.

We do not currently support the OneDrive sync client and we recommend that you use the web interface as your primary way to upload or retrieve files.  IT Services have plans to release a lightweight file streaming client, which operates much like a sync client, for both students and staff once the roll-out of Windows 10 to staff computers is complete.

 

Other cloud storage providers

Supported?

GDPR compliant?

Backed-up?

Storage limit

Software required?

Known issues

No

Check with your provider

Check with your provider

Variable

Web interface.  Unsupported sync client.

Sync client can cause problems with desktop computers.

 

There are a wide range of other cloud storage providers, such as Dropbox and Google Drive.  If you choose to use these methods of storing your files, there are a number of things you should be aware of:

  1. The sync clients for these providers are not supported by IT Services and will sometimes cause problems on a Sussex computer.  If staff install these sync clients and use them to store your data, you do so entirely at your own risk.
    If you do intend to install the Dropbox client, please follow the guidance below to ensure it does not break your computer profile and prevent you from logging in.
    We recommend that you do not use sync clients on Sussex computers and instead use the web interface for your chosen cloud platform.
    An alternative to the sync client is web drive.  You can find instructions to use this here.
  2. Each cloud platform has different levels of compliance with GDPR regulations, and there is often a difference between personal and business versions.
    If you are storing data in your own account, you are responsible for ensuring that it is GDPR compliant (personal accounts will often not be).  Failure to ensure this may result in legal action against yourself or the University.
    If you are storing data in an account belonging to another individual, group or academic institution, you will need written assurance from them that their chosen data storage platform adheres to GDPR requirements.  You remain responsible for the security and management of the data that you store, even if you have placed it in a system managed by a third party.

Safely installing Dropbox on a Windows 7 PC at Sussex:

  1. Go to this page on the Dropbox website
  2. When prompted, Agree to install. This will require admin rights or assistance from a member of ITS staff.
  3. The installer is quite slow so please wait for it to complete.
  4. Drop box will present a window to Set Up Dropbox.  Sign in to Dropbox (this assumes you have an account).
  5. IMPORTANT: Click on advanced settings at the bottom of the Set Up Dropbox window.
  6. In the textbox under "Select a location for your DropBox folder" change the text "C:\User\\Dropbox" to "C:\Dropbox" by clicking Other... and selecting C: 
  7. Under Selective Sync you can choose which of your folders are synced.
  8. Finally, click "Open my Dropbox" and go through the welcome screens.

Please note: this setup means that your data is stored on hard drive of the PC in such a way that your data accessible by anyone else using that PC.

ResearchData

Supported?

GDPR compliant?

Backed-up?

Storage limit

Software required?

Known issues

Yes

Yes

Yes

Variable

No

 

 

Dedicated storage systems are provided by IT Services for research purposes.  For more information, please see this page.

Other physical storage media

Supported?

GDPR compliant?

Backed-up?

Storage limit

Software required?

Known issues

No

No, unless you take steps to ensure compliance

No

The size of your storage media

No

All physical media will eventually fail, at which time you will lose your data.

 

Physical storage media include external hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs or memory cards.  None of these storage media are supported by IT Services and when they eventually fail you will often lose all data stored on them.

You will need to take steps to ensure that your data is backed-up and not stored in the same location as your computer, in case of loss or accident.

You will also need to ensure that the data on them is kept secure for legal reasons, for example to meet GDPR requirements.  Data should be securely encrypted and the media should be kept physically secure.

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Created by Alexander Butler on 18 April 2018 and last updated by Alexander Butler on 10 July 2018