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Research Data Management Basics

This guide covers practical tips and best practices for managing project data.

Store & Back Up Work

When storing files it is important to:

Storage options at George Mason

  • OneDrive provides 1TB of storage and is available to university employees. Note that data stored within OneDrive is not backed up by George Mason University. Account holders are responsible for backing up their own data and preserving copies of important files.
  • MESA Personal Storage (MYDATA) provides 10 GB of storage on the MESA network drive.
  • Storage and Data Transfer options through the Office of Research Computing.
  • globus for transferring large data files.
  • Contact the Office of Research Computing for additional specialized data storage solutions.


Keep three copies of important files. 

For example:   

One primary file on your computer,   

a second copy backed up to an external hard drive or other media,  

a third copy off-site.          

Determine what data will be backed up and the backup schedule.

Questions to consider:

  • Is there a backup service already available or will you need to do it yourself?
  • How often will backups occur?
  • Who will be responsible for performing backups?
  • How will sensitive data be backed up?
  • Do you have sufficient storage or will you need to include costs for backup hardware and software?

More Information:

3-2-1 Backup Before It's Too Late (GradHacker)
Data Backup Options (US-CERT)

Backup Utilities

When working with sensitive data, IT security practices must be followed. George Mason's IT Security Office has published guidelines and policies.

Please review George Mason's policies and procedures carefully.

Basic security guidelines:

  • Network Security
    • Keep highly sensitive data off the Internet.
    • Put sensitive materials on computers not connected to the Internet.
  • Physical Security
    • Restrict access to buildings and rooms where computers or media are kept.
    • Only let trusted individuals troubleshoot computer problems.
  • Computer Systems & Files
    • Virus protection software should be used and be regularly updated.
    • Don't send confidential data via e-mail or through other file transfer modes.
    • Use passwords on files and on computers.
    • Use encryption if needed.