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Engineering and Public Policy: Data Management: Security and Backup


Physical security and computer security of data must be considered in good data management. While it is encouraged to make scientific data available to the public, sometimes confidential or sensitive information must be kept secure.  Keep lab notebooks safe and secure as well!

  • Network security
    • Keep confidential 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
    • Keep virus protection up to date
    • Don’t send confidential data via e-mail or FTP - use encryption, if you must send data
    • Use passwords on files and computers


Making backups of collected data is critically important in data management and the data lifecycle. Backups protect against human errors, hardware failure, virus attacks, power failure, and natural disasters. Backups can help save time and money if these failures occur.  Don't keep backups in the same place!!!

  • Use the 3-2-1 rule:
    • 3 copies of your data - 2 copies are not enough
    • 2 different formats - i.e. hard drive+tape backup or DVD (short term)+flash drive
    • 1 off-site backup - have 2 physical backups and one in the cloud   
  • Backup options
    • Hard drives - personal or work computer
    • Departmental or institution server
    • External hard drives
    • Tape backups
    • Disciplinary archives (repositories)
    • Cloud storage (e. g. Box at CMU)
    • KiltHub (for faculty, most graduate students, and some undergraduates)


EPP Librarian

Julie Chen 

Contact Info
Julie Chen, Librarian
Sorrells Engineering & Science Library, Wean Hall

EPP pages

EPP pages created by Sue Collins, maintained by Julie Chen