Data storage and backup during the master’s thesis

Research data must be stored safely and backed up carefully. The features of the data affect what kind of storage place should be chosen for them.

Students can use O365 OneDrive personal storage space at UEF. Familiarize yourself with the O365 instructions at Kamu. Special attention should be paid to data processing if the data cannot be stored in the cloud, such as sensitive personal data that require high level protection. Students have the opportunity to order a disk space with high level protection from the UEF IT-service or get an access to the project’s disk space by asking the research group that student is making the thesis for. The Data Protection and Processing Guidelines that describe the protection levels and storage spaces for each data types at UEF, is available in UEF’s intra (login to UEF Intra by Please, check what level of protection your research data belong to.

You need to take care of the information security (data security) of the research data of your master’s thesis. Check out the UEF’s student information security guide and consider how to make sure that the research data are stored safely. If the research data of your master’s thesis contain personal data of study participants, the safe and secure handling of the research data is very important so that the research data do not accidentally end up in the wrong places (General Data Protection Regulation; GDPR). The processing of personal data will be covered in the next section of this learning material (Ethical and legal issues in research data management). Information security also involves the fact that only reliable tools and services should be used in the collection and storage of research data. For example, when collecting interview data, the better option is to use a tape recorder instead of your own smartphone, as the smartphone can, in the worst case, store the interviews in a cloud storage space outside of Europe which is prohibited based on the GDPR. Because voice alone is considered to be personal data and because the processing of personal data requires strict compliance with legislation, an interview conducted using your own smartphone may even be illegal or it may lead to difficulties in finding the location of the interview data. For example, when collecting questionnaires or other answers, it is also worth paying attention to what kind of applications or programs you can use. In free programs, security may be deficient. Primarily, you should use the services offered and recommended by the university at all stages of collecting and storing the research data. If you are using others, please read the content of the privacy notice on the service sites and check if the service is suitable for collecting the data of your master’s thesis.

Remember to plan and take care of the backup of the research data if it is not automated (depends on the storage space that you use). It is important to ensure that the valuable research data cannot be lost due to, for example, equipment failure. Be sure to take care of security also when backing up, for example, by protecting a flash drive or other external storage devices. Please check the UEF instructions on how to protect external storage devices.