The Records Management Program can work with departments to help them find appropriate on-site and off-site storage solutions for paper and electronic institutional data and records. It can also work with departments to determine appropriate reformatting solutions.
General Principles for Storing Electronic and Paper Files
- Know the location of all of your files–all copies.
- Document where you store your files.
- Ensure that storage areas (paper and electronic) are protected. Know who has access to these areas. Periodically check the controls on access to these areas.
- Know the confidentiality level of the records and institutional data you are storing.
- Ensure that measures to protect the records and institutional data are commensurate with its level of confidentiality and associated risk.
- Know how long you need to keep and what you need to ultimately do with these records and institutional data.
Electronic Files Storage Options
Tufts provides all students, faculty, and staff with a personal data storage area on the university network. Sometimes referred to as your individual drive or home share, your P: drive is a private data storage area on the Tufts network that no one but you can access. This space is ideal as an active work space for files that you are currently creating and editing or for storing informal reference copies of documents. Organize these files in a way that makes the most sense to you.
Tufts provides all faculty and staff with a shared departmental data storage area on the university network. Sometimes referred to as your departmental share, your Q: drive is a data storage area on the Tufts network that is accessable by other staff or faculty in your department. This space is ideal for storing your department’s files. Organize these files in a way that makes sense to everyone in the department. Be mindful of who has access to your departmental share as staff–particularly contractors, temporary employees, and student employees–join and leave your department.
Networked data storage (R: drive) space from 50 GB to 1 TB + is available to faculty researchers based on their identified research-specific computational and data acquisition needs. This space is ideal for storing research data. Be mindful of who has access to your research share as faculty, staff, students, and post-docs join and leave your lab, program, or project.
Tufts Enterprise Box is a web-based tool that allows users to easily store, access, and share large amounts of data on a network of internet-based servers (in the cloud). Box is a private cloud storage resource available to all members of the Tufts community. Data and files stored in the Box account are accessible anywhere an Internet connection is present and includes the option to share selected files with anyone. This service is idea for sharing documents with people across the University or at other institutions.
You should review the Tufts Enterprise Box Service Use Policy before creating an account. In particular, do not use Box to store Level A: Regulated Institutional Data. The University has negotiated a Terms of Service with Box.com for this service, which means that it is an environment whose risks are measured and accepted by Tufts.
Self-Provisioned Cloud Services
Tufts faculty, staff, and administrators must be very cautious about self-provisioning a cloud service to process, share, store, or otherwise manage institutional data and records. Self-provisioned cloud services are often unvetted environments with significant unmeasured risks or are subject to changes in risk with or without notice. Virtually all cloud services require individual users to accept click-through agreements. These end-user license agreements do not allow users to negotiate terms, do not provide the opportunity to clarify terms, often provide vague descriptions of services and safeguards, and often change without notice.
Be cautious about storing institutional data and records on external media such as CDs and thumb drives. These media are easy to lose or have stolen. In addition, it depends on your effort to back up files stored on these kind of media. In contrast, the P, Q, and R Drives, and Box are backed-up without you needing to lift a finger.
Mobile & Personal Devices
Because of the nature of the technology that supports our work, a wide range of institutional data and records are accessible on mobile devices, including smart phones and tablets. Unfortunately, these devices sometimes get stolen or lost. Take care to secure your device.
Many of these devices that support our Tufts works are personal property rather than the property of the University. Regardless of who owns the device you use to access or store institutional data, you are expected to handle that data responsibly.
Paper Files Storage Options
Offices and Work Areas
Use filing cabinets and desk drawers to store paper records. Be mindful of who has access to these offices and work areas. Make sure these areas are locked when unattended. Consider using locked cabinets for storing Level A: Regulated Institutional Data and Level B: Confidential Institutional Data.
Closets, Attics, Basements, and Other Storage Rooms
Be cautious about storing paper files in on-campus closets, attics, basements, and other storage rooms that are not in or adjacent to your office, suite, or work area. Often it is difficult to control who can gain access to these spaces, particularly ones shared by multiple departments. These spaces, particularly basements, can become very humid or even flood without your notice. This can quickly damage and even destroy paper files.
Offsite Storage: Iron Mountain
It may be appropriate for some departments and offices to store paper files off-site. Tufts has a university-wide contract with Iron Mountain for offsite paper records storage. Departments are billed individually, but pay an institution-wide rate for this service. This service is idea for departments with a notable volume of records that need to be kept for a period of time but are infrequently accessed.
To open an Iron Mountain account for your department contact the company’s account representative for Tufts:
Business Development Executive
The University thoroughly investigated offsite records storage options and has determined that its contract with Iron Mountain provides the best value and information protection for departments at Tufts. Departments should not try to find alternative vendor solutions for offsite storage.