The Crashplan Program
By Howard Powell
An important step for any researcher is to make sure their work is recorded and stored in a safe place for later analysis. Here at Colgate, we offer a host of solutions to ensure your data is safe from hardware failure, theft of physical hardware, or disaster.
Some researchers across campus are already familiar with Dropbox and Google Drive, two online services that allow you to use cloud storage as a special folder or a network drive which you can then save data to from within your normal collection or analysis software. Dropbox, which appears as a special folder on your computer, synchronizes all data stored to that folder with any other computers which have Dropbox installed and the same user logged in. There are personal Dropbox accounts and enterprise (Colgate-provided) Dropbox accounts with different features, for example, an enterprise Dropbox account that meets special requirements for data retention that personal accounts may not. Personal Dropbox accounts are free or paid, while Colgate Dropbox accounts are paid for by ITS. Google Drive (specifically Google Drive File Stream), on the other hand, appears as a network drive. As part of the Google Educational suite, Google Drive is free for anyone with a colgate.edu e-mail address and offers unlimited storage. Ultimately, the difference between Dropbox and Google Drive will come down to personal preference, or seeing which program is better integrated with the software you use.
Other researchers may desire to back up the entire program and application stack used to generate the data and analysis of their work for reproducibility at a later date. For these researchers, ITS recommends using Crashplan software, which runs on your laptop or desktop and uploads the data, the applications, and the configuration you create to its servers in the cloud. The Crashplan program can be configured to only run at certain times of day, or when the computer is idle, or even when the computer detects it’s connected to the on-campus network (useful for portable laptops). Otherwise, the Crashplan software runs quietly in the background and sends an e-mail once per week to let you know that everything is backed up safely.