Almost all universities will by now offer storage services to staff and students. These will include a large amount of storage space in the university storage services, meaning that your files are stored safely, without you worrying of losing them.

Other alternatives available to anyone include sync services such as Google Drive or Dropbox. I personally use both these services. Google drive is a good, quick and easy way for me to keep my most frequently accessed files synced in all my devices. This means that I can always work from home whenever I require to and can access my files through the Google Drive app anywhere, in case I want to view a file or show something to someone. I prefer Google Drive as it immediately offers 15GB of free storage use, whereas Dropbox is more limited in its free form.

I do use Dropbox, though, to back up some files and also to share projects with different people. One particular use for Dropbox is keeping track of my participants’ progress. There is a training I want my children participants to do at home. In that training software they are using, I have included a script where it essentially copies their progress in an Excel file (found in a shared Dropbox folder). The script copies another file in the shared folder whenever they access the software, informing me whenever and for how long they’ve used their training. However, as both of these services are not protected I would definitely not use any sensitive information in the files stored here. And if I ever want some protection for my data I add a password to my file.

Even though these services and the University service are reliable, I would still keep at least 2 back-ups of all my files in separate drives in different buildings. So for instance, I have back-ups on my home computer and I also have back-ups on an external drive at my UCL office. Being a photographer, as well, I know that files should always be backed up 3 times minimum for maximum peace of mind. So I apply that to my work, as well.

Final tip has to do with Google Drive. Even if it is my most used sync service, there are times where it becomes frustrating. This often happens when I have an open Word or Office file for a long time. When I decide to close, save and exit there appears to be a problem syncing the file. However, the file is safely stored, it’s just not showed as synced. Not until you exit Google Drive and relaunch the service. Once that happens it will sync the file right away. Otherwise, the file will not even appear in the Google Drive website. I don’t know why this happens, but my advice is to exit and relaunch Google Drive whenever you’ve worked on a file for some time.

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