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When a researcher creates a file, that file becomes the responsibility of the researcher.  The Jenner institute insists that files are stored on a network drive.  This is to provide long term backup of the data as well as protection.

The backup cycle is every 24 hours.  The system used is a Storage Area Network (SAN) and is located in a secure storage area at the John Radcliffe Hospital site.  For data integrity, this system is replicated to the Begbroke Science Park.

Dropbox and Cloud Storage

There are clear advantages of using Dropbox and other cloud storage tools, but there are also associated risks.

Almost all of the companies offering these solutions are located in the USA.  Currently there are no universal agreements between countries as to how data is stored and protected.  The Safe Harbour agreements have also been brought into question.

The recommendation is not to use cloud storage solutions for research data because it poses a risk to the researcher and to the research data.

The University offers Oxfile as a system to share large files.

Typical risks

Loss of data through insufficient account details (often by forgetting password or security credentials, resulting in being locked out). 

  • Without warning, some companies can lock accounts which they perceive to be in breach of terms and conditions or terms of service (Google is one such company). 
  • Many companies employ others to scan for data for analytical or statistical purposes, and the information will then be used in capacity planning. This data is often sold to other businesses. 
  • Hackers have targeted cloud based apps and there have been several occasions where access has been gained to the data (Dropbox, for example, has been targeted, resulting in its security being compromised on more than one occasion).

If you are looking for further clarity and options when sharing data please contact the IT Manager on 617628.