Data Backup and Storage

Backups to Ensure your Data

During your research, it is necessary to secure your created and recurring data. Backups are an instrument to ensure that your data can be restored in case of damage or losses. The data backup strategy is usually already defined in the data management plan. Nevertheless, it is necessary to carry out your planned backup strategy continuously. Keep in mind, that your data is invaluable, in comparison to storage space.

Backup Strategy

There are plenty of backup strategies, how to perform and organize backups. The backup strategy always depends on several factors that are highly dependent on the research project and the institutional framework conditions. Ask always your local IT department for storage and backup services. They know best the already existing solutions at your institute.


One example is the CESSDA Training. It is recommending a backup strategy in ten steps. It is starting from 1. finding whether your institution has a backup strategy to 10. assigning the responsibilities. With these ten guidelines, you can define and apply the different steps for your detailed backup strategy.


Another, rather simpler strategy is the 3-2-1-rule. This means, in addition to your primary data keep at least two copies of your data, so three versions of your data exist. The more copies you use, the less risk you are taking of a total data loss. Moreover, the copies of your data should be on minimum two different storage types, e.g. hard disk of your computer, shared storage at your institute, or an USB stick. Lastly, you should keep one of the copies of the data physically separate from the other copies as much as possible. A synced storage service like Keeper could help you hereby.


During your research, you can also ensure with a blockchain technology the origin of the data and its integrity. With the scientific blockchain bloxberg, the Max Planck Digital Library can offer a service for you.

Further Reading

CESSDA Training Team (2017-2020): CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide – Backups, Bergen/Norway,

W. C. Preston (2007): Backup & Recovery: Inexpensive Backup Solutions for Open Systems, O’Reilly Media.

S. Venkataraman, and P. Moura (2020): Raw Data, Backup and Versioning: What You Need to Know to Preserve Your Research Data, Zenodo, doi:10.5281/zenodo.4041557.