At IU, what options do I have for storing files?

Indiana University students, faculty, and staff have a variety of options for storing and sharing files. However, unless your files contain institutional data the university has officially classified as Critical, the most convenient and secure option available is most likely Box at IU (for more, see below). Following is a summary of UITS baseline (i.e., no-cost) services for storing and sharing files. If you need help deciding which option best suits your needs and/or offers the level of security required for the data you are storing, contact your campus Support Center.

Note:
Important policies, data management standards, and laws apply to everyone working with institutional data at IU. Additional policies and standards, as well as federal and state laws, apply to everyone working with data that includes protected health information (PHI) regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). If you work with these types of data, you need to know IU's official Classifications of Institutional Data and Standards for Management of Institutional Data. For more on this topic, see this document's Working with institutional data section.

On this page:


Box at IU

All IU students, faculty, and staff are eligible to create Box accounts. With a Box account, you get simple, secure, unlimited online storage. You can use Box to securely share files with anyone who has an email address (e.g., students in a class you're teaching, students on your project team or in a class you're taking, or work colleagues at IU and elsewhere).

Using the IU Cloud Storage service, you can configure your Box account to behave like a mapped drive (in Windows) or mounted server (in OS X) for use with IUanyWare applications or on IU-build workstations, including those in the Student Technology Centers (STCs) and many departmentally managed computing labs.

Important:
Box at Indiana University is not appropriate for storing or sharing most types of institutional data classified as Critical. However, with certain additional security measures, you may be able to use IU Box with some data that contain protected health information (PHI) regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For more, see What types of data are appropriate for my IU Box account?
Box at IU Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
Online storage and file sharing for IU students, faculty, and staff Only with
Box Health Data Accounts
Restricted *

* UITS strongly recommends using Box Entrusted Data Accounts for any Restricted data stored in Box.

For more, see About Box at IU.

Slashtmp

Graduate students, faculty, and staff can use the web-based Slashtmp service to temporarily store files they want to share with others. Slashtmp is particularly useful when you need to share files that are too large to send via email. Each user gets 4 GB of temporary storage space; Slashtmp files disappear automatically 30 days after you upload them (you can delete them sooner if you wish). Slashtmp files are not backed up; deleted files cannot be recovered.

Appropriate use: Use the Slashtmp Critical version for files containing institutional data classified as University-internal, Restricted, or Critical, including data containing HIPAA-regulated PHI. Use the Slashtmp Simple version for files that either do not contain institutional data or contain institutional data classified as Public.

Slashtmp Critical Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
Temporary storage for sharing files containing institutional data classified as University-internal, Restricted, or Critical, including data containing HIPAA-regulated PHI Yes Critical
Slashtmp Simple Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
Temporary storage for sharing files containing no institutional data or institutional data classified as Public No Public

For more, see At IU, what is Slashtmp, and how do I use it?

SharePoint

For personal use, IU graduate students, faculty, and staff can request individual My Sites. Each My Site provides 20 GB of secure online storage and options for sharing files with other IU My Site owners.

For teams and departments, full-time IU faculty and appointed staff can request group sites. Each group site provides 20 GB of secure online storage, tools for collaboration (e.g., wikis, blogs, and RSS feeds) and online document management, and a secure, context-aware centralized search that permits granular control.

With the KnowledgeLake (for scanning, capture, and enhanced search) and Nintex (for robust workflow capabilities) extensions, departments with investment and expertise in SharePoint can use SharePoint as a complementary edge electronic document management (EDM) solution to support non-institutional documents and workflows.

Note:
UITS will maintain the KnowledgeLake service on-premises for the near term, with active investigation, testing, and piloting of Microsoft Office 365 as a long-term strategy for SharePoint services. For more, see What is KnowledgeLake, and where is it being implemented at IU?

Appropriate use: My Sites and group sites are appropriate for use with personal files, and for work involving institutional data classified as Public or University-internal. My Sites and group sites are not appropriate for storing or sharing institutional data classified as Restricted or Critical, including data containing HIPAA-regulated PHI. Once a electronic document set becomes an institutional record, a migration path into the OnBase repository is required.

SharePoint Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
My Sites: Online storage and file sharing for graduate students, faculty, and staff

Group sites: Online storage, collaborative tools, and document management for teams and departments
No University-internal

For more, see What is the UITS SharePoint service? and At IU, how can I get help using SharePoint?

Canvas Files tool

The Files tool in Canvas provides online storage for individual (1 GB), course (4 GB), and group (300 MB) sites.

Appropriate use: The Files tool in Canvas is appropriate for storing class materials, and for work involving institutional data classified as Public, University-internal, or Restricted. The Files tool in Canvas is not appropriate for storing or sharing institutional data classified as Critical, including HIPAA-regulated PHI. Storage in Canvas is intended only for files directly related to course or group work; for general-purpose storage needs, choose another option.

Canvas Files tool Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
Online storage and file sharing strictly for course or academic group work No Restricted

For more, see File storage in Canvas.

Note:
Oncourse is scheduled to be retired after the summer 2016 semester, but current users can still use the Resources tool to store and share files. Course, project, and portfolio sites provide 4 GB of storage; your My Workspace also provides 4 GB of storage. Oncourse is appropriate for storing personal files, and for work involving institutional data classified as Public, University-internal, or Restricted. Oncourse Resources is not appropriate for storing or sharing sensitive institutional data classified as Critical, including data containing HIPAA-regulated PHI. For more, see File storage in Oncourse.

OnBase

At IU, Electronic Document Management (EDM) is defined as the strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to the university's organizational processes. IU currently offers Hyland OnBase as its enterprise EDM solution. OnBase is the official records repository for all institutional data at IU. Numerous IU departments use OnBase for scanning, storing, and retrieving paper documents, and for importing, storing, and retrieving electronic files. OnBase also supports workflow management, allowing users to rout documents to queues designed to meet individual departmental needs. IU's university-wide enterprise license makes OnBase software available at no cost to all IU departments, schools, and campuses. (Costs related to scanners, consulting, and other service components not covered by the license agreement may apply.)

Appropriate use: OnBase is appropriate for storing sensitive institutional data classified as Critical, but is not appropriate for storing data containing HIPAA-regulated PHI.

For more, see What is OnBase, and where can I get help with it?

OnBase Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
Enterprise EDM solution No Critical

Electronic documents related to the scholarly record (IUScholarWorks) are outside the scope of IU's EDM strategies. For more about EDM at IU, see About IU Electronic Document Management strategies.

Research systems

Eligibility requirements for accounts on IU research computing and storage resources varies by system; for details, see Research system accounts (all campuses) in What computing accounts are available at IU, and for whom?

  • Supercomputer home directories and local scratch space: Home directories on IU's high-performance research computing systems provide each user 100 GB of permanent storage. If you have accounts on more than one system, the 100 GB quota is shared by each of those accounts. For more, see Home directories in At IU, how much disk space is available to me on the research computing systems?

    Each system also provides local scratch disk space for temporarily storing program data. Local scratch directories are not backed up, and files are automatically deleted once they are 14 days old. Data purged from local scratch directories cannot be recovered. For more, see Local scratch space in At IU, how much disk space is available to me on the research computing systems?

  • Shared scratch space: The Data Capacitor II (DC2) and Data Capacitor Wide Area Network (DC-WAN) are high-throughput, Lustre-based file systems mounted as /N/dc2 and /N/dcwan, respectively, on all UITS research computing systems. They provide high-speed shared scratch space for temporarily storing application input and output files. Shared scratch directories are not backed up, and purged files cannot be recovered. For more, see The Data Capacitor II and DC-WAN high-speed file systems at Indiana University.
  • Research storage systems: For researchers who need more than 100 GB of permanent storage, the UITS Research Storage group operates two advanced, long-term storage systems: the Scholarly Data Archive (SDA) and the Research File System (RFS).

    The Indiana University Scholarly Data Archive (SDA) provides extensive capacity (approximately 42 PB of tape overall) for storing and accessing research data. The SDA is a distributed storage service co-located at IU data centers in Bloomington and Indianapolis, providing IU researchers with large-scale archival or near-line data storage, arranged in large files, with two copies of data made by default (for disaster recovery).

    The Indiana University Research File System (RFS) is a centralized storage area based on OpenAFS. The IU RFS is compatible with all major operating systems, and accessible using various methods from on and off campus. RFS data are regularly backed up, and reside in physically secure environments on the IU Bloomington and IUPUI campuses. IU researchers can get 100 GB of disk storage at no charge. In addition to individual user directories, RFS offers project areas well suited for use by collaborative research teams. All users in a project area group have access to that area, and therefore can exchange files and collaborate. Group account owners can tailor access rights for individual users within their projects.

    For more, see:

Appropriate use: UITS Research Technologies systems are appropriate for use in support of research, scholarly endeavors, and creative activity. They are deployed to specifically address the needs of researchers, artists, scholars, clinicians, and engineers at IU, and others at the state, national, and international levels. Furthermore:

Resource Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
Research supercomputers
Long-term storage in home directories; temporary storage in local scratch directories
Yes Restricted
Data Capacitor II
Shared scratch space for research computing data
Yes Restricted
DC-WAN
Shared scratch space for research computing data
No Restricted
Scholarly Data Archive (SDA)
Archival storage for research data
Yes Restricted
Research File System (RFS)
Storage for individual researchers and research teams
Yes Restricted
Note:
In accordance with standards for access control mandated by the HIPAA Security Rule, you are not permitted to access data containing protected health information (PHI) using a group (or departmental) account. To ensure accountability and permit access to authorized users only, IU researchers must use their personal Network ID credentials for all work involving PHI.

The UITS Advanced Biomedical IT Core provides consulting and online help for Indiana University researchers who need help securely processing, storing, and sharing data containing PHI. If you need help or have questions about managing HIPAA-regulated data at IU, contact the ABITC. For additional details about HIPAA compliance at IU, see HIPAA & ABITC and the Office of Vice President and General Counsel (OVPGC) HIPAA Privacy & Security page.

Back to top

Third-party online storage services

As members of the general public, IU students, faculty, and staff have numerous online storage options available from third-party service providers. These service providers commonly offer some amount of free storage space when you sign up for an account, and then charge a fee if you need more space:

Appropriate use: Third-party online storage services are appropriate for storing personal files only. Make sure you read and understand the terms of service before signing up for an account. Do not use a third-party online storage solution to store or share institutional data of any classification level. Also, make sure you understand the security and privacy policies of a third-party service before using it to store any confidential personal data.

Third-party online storage Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
Online storage services available to the general public No Public

Removable storage media

Portable USB flash drives are best suited for temporarily storing files you want to transport for the purpose of accessing and/or working on them from another computer. Writable CD-R or DVD disks are best suited for permanent storage of completed projects or back-up copies of files you have stored elsewhere.

However, removable storage media are generally less reliable than a secure online storage solution (e.g., Box). USB flash drives and writable disks can be easily misplaced or damaged. Consequently, when using removable storage media, you should keep back-up copies of your files stored elsewhere. Also, in most cases, you should not use removable storage media to store files containing institutional data or confidential personal information.

Important:
At IU, never store sensitive institutional data on USB flash drives or other removable storage media unless the information is properly encrypted, and your senior executive officer or the IU Institutional Review Board (IRB) has given prior written approval.

Appropriate use: Removable storage media are appropriate only for temporarily storing personal files that do not contain confidential information. In most cases, do not use removable storage media to store institutional data of any classification level.

Removable storage media Approved for data containing PHI? Most sensitive data classification allowed (other than PHI)
USB flash drives, writable CD-R and DVD disks No Public

Back to top

Working with institutional data

If you work with institutional data at IU, you are responsible, in accordance with IU policy, for meeting official data management standards to prevent the inappropriate disclosure of personal or confidential information. The IU Committee of Data Stewards and the University Information Policy Office (UIPO) have defined official Classifications of Institutional Data and Standards for Management of Institutional Data that apply to all all users and administrators of IU information technology resources.

IU's institutional data management standards include rules for managing access, maintaining data integrity and security, manipulating and extracting data for reports, and choosing appropriate locations and methods for storing various institutional data elements. Especially stringent standards apply when your work involves sensitive institutional data (i.e., institutional data elements classified Restricted or Critical).

When working with sensitive institutional data at IU, always follow best practices, such as:

Important:
Data containing HIPAA-regulated PHI are also classified as Critical by the Committee of Data Stewards. Before storing data containing PHI on any IU information technology system or service, make sure you understand your legal responsibilities for protecting the security and privacy of that data; see When using UITS Research Technologies systems and services, what are my legal responsibilities for protecting the privacy and security of data containing protected health information?

The UITS Advanced Biomedical IT Core provides consulting and online help for Indiana University researchers who need help securely processing, storing, and sharing data containing PHI. If you need help or have questions about managing HIPAA-regulated data at IU, contact the ABITC. For additional details about HIPAA compliance at IU, see HIPAA & ABITC and the Office of Vice President and General Counsel (OVPGC) HIPAA Privacy & Security page.

For more on best practices for handling sensitive institutional data, see:

For a complete comparison of UITS dedicated file storage services and services with storage components, including information about default allotments, maximum file sizes, backups, and costs, see At IU, which dedicated file storage services and IT services with storage components are appropriate for sensitive institutional data, including research data containing protected health information?

Your campus may have additional or alternative options; for details, contact your campus Support Center.

Creating or requesting accounts

For information about creating or requesting technology accounts at IU, see:

This is document ajay in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-08-28.

  • Fill out this form to submit your issue to the UITS Support Center.
  • Please note that you must be affiliated with Indiana University to receive support.
  • All fields are required.

Please provide your IU email address. If you currently have a problem receiving email at your IU account, enter an alternate email address.

  • Fill out this form to submit your comment to the IU Knowledge Base.
  • If you are affiliated with Indiana University and need help with a computing problem, please use the I need help with a computing problem section above, or contact your campus Support Center.

Please provide your IU email address. If you currently have a problem receiving email at your IU account, enter an alternate email address.