Data storage and sharing

Adopting good practices in storing and sharing your research data can save a lot of time in finding and interpreting, but also securing your data. There are various ways to store and share your research data safely as your project progresses, along with other means to ensure data security.

Data storage

Data safety entails protecting data against loss by making regular back-ups of your data, while guaranteeing data security by preventing unauthorized access. Together with appropriate data organization, such as clear folder structures and adding sufficient metadata to facilitate re-use of your data, there are various ways to warrant research data safety. Main safe storage facilities supported by TU/e are:

  • TU/e network drives
    Each TU/e employee is allotted a personal home drive, with 1-10 GB of storage room (depending on department/service). Departments and research groups have their collective group folders which all staff members have access to. These folders can be used for sharing research data with other TU/e researchers. Data on TU/e network drives are backed up regularly. For further information or requests, please contact LIS (lisservices@tue.nl)
  • SURFdrive
    A cloud storage service for safe and reliable data storage and sharing, hosted by SURF. Datasets are stored on servers in the Netherlands. Each TU/e staff member has access to a personal SURFdrive (500 GB storage space, access via TU/e account). Data can be easily shared with other researchers with a SURFdrive account, both within and outside TU/e. Data can also be shared with guest users or external parties via a “share link” functionality. SURFdrive can be used to store normal personal data. Contact your data steward in case you are unsure if your data is normal personal data. Further information on SURFdrive is available on the intranet or via TU/e Storage Finder.

Note: Your personal SURFdrive account together with all its content will be removed after you leave the university. If you are storing project data that someone else may be interested in, make sure to transfer them into e.g. ResearchDrive before your departure from TU/e.

  • ResearchDrive
    A cloud storage service that allows data storage, synchronization and secure sharing of data within research projects. ResearchDrive is hosted by SURF but contrary to SURFdrive, storage space on ResearchDrive is allocated on a project basis instead of a personal basis. This makes ResearchDrive a more sustainable solution, i.e., data storage can be maintained after a researcher has left TU/e. ResearchDrive can provide unlimited space, with back-ups/disaster recovery and allows setting access rights. The data are stored in the Netherlands and can be shared with TU/e researchers and researchers from other universities and institutes (also abroad). ResearchDrive can be used to store special category personal data. Contact your data steward if you are unsure if your data is special category personal data. Further information on ResearchDrive can be found here and on the intranet.

To get full overview of storage solutions offered and supported by TU/e, visit TU/e Storage Finder. The storage finder will help you determine which solution is best suited for your requirements. If you are in doubt, please contact your data steward. 

Note that additional security measures are needed when you store or share special category personal data. For example, you may require client-side encryption. For further information, please consult a data steward from the RDM support team (rdmsupport@tue.nl).

Storing data on personal computers or mobile hard disks or USBs is discouraged due to irregular back-ups and the high potential for loss of the data. Storing data in cloud services outside the EU (Google drive, Dropbox, iCloud or personal OneDrive) should also be avoided because of possible non-compliance with the GDPR. Tailored advice on data storing and sharing can be provided, and storage solutions arranged, by the data stewards of the RDM support team (rdmsupport@tue.nl).

Tips & Tricks on data security

  • Always use hard drive encryption (e.g. Bitlocker on Windows and FileVault on Apple).
  • Lock your PC when you leave, to block unauthorized physical access.
  • Keep your operating system up to date.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi networks without VPN.
  • Use unique, strong passwords and keep them private.
  • Use a spam filter in your e-mail client.
  • Do not open e-mails and attachments from unknown senders.
  • Never store sensitive data on portable USB devices.
  • If you don’t trust what you see on your notebook, immediately shut down the notebook, disconnect the network and call Information Management & Services (+31 40 247 2000) - A full shutdown of a notebook requires pressing and holding the power key for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • If devices or data are lost or stolen please contact the Computer Emergency Response Team (cert@tue.nl / +31 40 247 5678) as quickly as possible and definitely within 24 hours if personal data are involved.

Data sharing

During your research, you may want to share your data with other researchers or organizations. When choosing data storage, consider whether you would like to share your data internally (within TU/e) or externally (outside of TU/e). In TU/e Storage Finder you can see which storage solutions support your sharing preference.

If you would like to send a data package to internal or external parties without giving them access to your storage, you can always use SURFfilesender to send files to anyone outside or inside of TU/e. Make sure to always encrypt files that include special category personal data.

Note: Sharing or receiving (personal) data from an external party requires that an appropriate data agreement is put in place. The type of agreement depends on the nature of collaboration between the parties. If you plan on sharing your research data or receiving data from a third party, please contact your data steward.