File Storage Guidelines

MHC Electronic File Storage Options

Use this chart to answer the often-asked question - where should I store my files? There are several key considerations to take into account when answering this question, including file size, whether files need to be shared and with whom, and whether they contain sensitive or secure information. For large database files used for research, an additional question may be how fast the connection to the files needs to be to accommodate querying. LITS' current recommendations for file storage are outlined below and we are always happy to answer any questions you might have about these recommendations at our Help Desk, available by phone at extension 2600 or via email at helpdesk@mtholyoke.edu.

Storage Option

Advantage

Disadvantage

Appropriate for

Inappropriate for

\\ambr - Local MHC File Server

Secure, private, fast, backed up with long term restores possible in some cases, capable of large storage volume in special cases

Sharing must be set by LITS, can’t share outside MHC, must use VPN to access off-campus, no web-browser access, no collaboration, no version control

Secure files including PII, or which require a large amount of storage or fast access such as video or research data

Files that need to be shared with users outside the MHC community, files or folders where the user prefers to be able to control their own sharing and permissions

Google Drive/Sites

User-controlled sharing, version control, unlimited storage (no quota), web-browser access, real-time collaboration, backed up and accessible after deletion for 30 days. Can be synced to local drive for offline access using Google Drive sync app.

Less secure than local options, access may be slower than local which might hinder functions such as processing large amounts of research data, all folders and files can only have a single owner.

Files that don’t contain PII, files that require collaboration, files that need to be shared outside MHC, files that don’t require large amounts of disk space

Files with tight security requirements or which contain PII, files that take up a large amount of disk space (either individually or collectively), files that require high speed access.

Google Team Drives

Controlled by a group of members rather than having a single owner. User-controlled sharing, version control, unlimited storage (no quota), web-browser access, real-time collaboration, backed up and accessible after deletion for 30 days.

Cannot by synced to local drive using Google Drive sync app. Less secure than local options, access may be slower than local which might hinder functions such as processing large amounts of research data

Files that don't contain PII, files that require collaboration, need to be shared outside MHC, don't require large amounts of disk space, or are shared with a group on a long term basis - especially if group members turn over regularly.

Files with tight security requirements or which contain PII, files that take up a large amount of disk space (either individually or collectively), files that require high speed access.

Dropbox, Box or other 3rd party cloud storage product

Not advised for MHC files. The College will not reimburse costs to use these products.

Security and accessibility not assured, no support. The College will not reimburse costs to use these products.

Not advised for MHC files. The College will not reimburse costs to use these products.

MHC files, including research, PII data and other sensitive information. The College will not reimburse costs to use these products.

Local desktop or laptop HD or thumb/jump portable drive

Not advised for MHC files

Not backed up, may not be secure, cannot share

Not advised for MHC files

Not advised for MHC files

External desktop storage drives (RAID or USB)

Not advised for MHC files, except in special cases such as research storage in combination with backups

Often not backed up, may not be secure, cannot share, vulnerable to localized environmental problems

Not advised for MHC files

Not advised for MHC files