File storage guidelines

LITS offers a few options for storing your files and data.  Which is most appropriate depends on considerations such as file size, whether files need to be shared and with whom and whether they contain sensitive or secure information.  For large research data files, an additional consideration may be how fast the connection to the files needs to be for processing.

Current recommendations for routine file storage are outlined below.  The Technology Help Desk is happy to answer questions and assist you in using any of these options.

If you have extremely large or more complex data storage needs, LITS would be happy to consult with you about additional options, such as purchase of a network-attached storage (NAS) device or special adjustments to the standard storage selections.  You can contact the LITS Data Storage Consultants to arrange a time for a conversation.

\\ambr — Local MHC file server

Advantage: Secure, private, fast, backed up with long-term restores possible in some cases, capable of large storage volume in special cases Disadvantage: Sharing files is more complicated than with Google, can’t share outside MHC, must use VPN to access off campus, no web browser access, no collaboration, no version control
Appropriate for: Secure files including personally identifiable information (PII), or that require a large amount of storage or fast access, such as video or research data. Learn how to connect.  Not appropriate for: 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

Advantage: 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 File Stream. Disadvantage: 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
Appropriate for: Files that don’t contain personally identifiable information (PII), files that require collaboration, files that need to be shared outside MHC. Inappropriate for: Files with tight security requirements or that contain PII, very large files that require high-speed processing access.

Google Team Drives

Advantage: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 Disadvantage:Potentially less secure than local options, access may be slower than local, which might hinder functions such as processing large amounts of research data
Appropriate for: 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 Inappropriate for: Files with high security requirements or that contain PII, very large files that require high-speed processing access.

Dropbox, Box or other third-party cloud storage product

Not advised for MHC files (The College will not reimburse costs to use these products.) Disadvantage: No negotiated contract for college use. Security and accessibility not assured, no campus support. (The College will not reimburse costs to use these products.)
  Inappropriate for: 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 Disadvantage: Not backed up, may not be secure, cannot share

External desktop storage drives (RAID or USB)

Not advised for MHC files, except in special cases, such as research storage in combination with backups. Contact the Technology Help Desk to discuss research storage options. Disadvantage: Often not backed up, may not be secure, cannot share, vulnerable to localized environmental problems

How to connect to Ambr

Folder Windows Macintosh
dept workgroup \\ambr\depts Workgroups-AMBR, depts
research \\ambr\depts Workgroups-AMBR, proj
project \\ambr\proj Workgroups-AMBR, proj
www/courses/username \\ambr\webcourses\username