Data Protection

Whether you use your own device or one provided by JCU, be prepared that the media inside your device (the disk drive) will fail. We don’t backup staff or student devices (laptops, phones etc.) so once this disk fails the data is lost.

Backups are an effective way to improve reliability of data, so let us explore the key options.

Option 1 – Physical backups

Microsoft and Apple both have in-built data backup features that allow users to backup data to an external USB device. These are handy low cost (depending on size) physical solutions.

For researchers working in the field (i.e. no internet connectivity) this might be a good short-term option to backup important data collection.

Here are a few aspects to consider:

  • Encrypting the physical disk in case it is lost.
  • Performing the backup frequently.
  • Storing the external disk away from sunlight, moisture and direct heat etc.
  • Keep two or more copies – a backup is generally a mirror of your computer. So if you delete something from the computer it can also be deleted from backup.

Option 2 – JCU File Shares

File shares are JCU managed servers that run enterprise disk drives in a configuration that reduces the opportunity for data loss. Some Colleges and subjects may also provide file share services for students to store data for projects and assignments.

Here are a few aspects to consider:

  • Security access is generally group based, so check the security permissions before you store anything sensitive.
  • Shares are backed up routinely (every few hours), so there is a small window for data loss.
  • You need to be able to connect to the JCU Campus to access the file shares.

Option 3 – JCU Cloud Services - OneDrive for Business / CloudStor

All Undergraduates, Postgraduates and Staff have a Microsoft Office 365 account that provides access to OneDrive for Business.

Here are a few aspects to consider:

  • OneDrive can be accessed on multiple devices via a web browser.
  • You can Sync OneDrive folders onto your device for easier access.
  • Automated version are maintained by Microsoft.
  • Ability to share with other people.

JCU account holders also have access to CloudStor, provided by AARNet. It should be noted that AARNET are not backing-up the data stored in the system. More information can be found here: https://cloudstor.aarnet.edu.au

Option 4 – Public Cloud Services

Public cloud services are readily accessible with many public cloud providers offering an amount of free space with additional capacity available for purchase.

Most include apps to enable synchronisation between the cloud, your desktop, laptop and mobile devices. These include:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • iCloud
  • Box

Here are some tips when reviewing a public cloud service:

  • Read the terms and conditions carefully. Some services may include clauses that assign certain intellectual property rights over to the provider.
  • Use a unique and complex password for each service.
  • Regularly check the folders and files you have shared to ensure they are correctly shared and to the right people.
  • Security breaches affect the biggest and most reputable companies. As a general rule, carefully consider the use of public cloud services to store any data that would result in significant loss (personal, business etc.) if it were made public.

Not all public cloud services are created equal and have different risk profiles. Therefore, the use of these services may not suit all information types (e.g. JCU corporate records or other sensitive information). If you require further information in this area, please don’t hesitate to contact ICT.