Where to store your data?

Safe storage of your "working" data is essential during your research project.

Your working data

During your research project you will need to store your research data so it is secure and backed up regularly, but is easily accessible to those who are authorised. The University supports you to do so. We define "working data" as the data you collect or create as the basis for your research publications (journal articles, conference papers, book chapters etc.) 

Where to store (working) research data?

Lancaster University provides storage space for diverse data needs of staff and postgraduate researchers. The choice of location for your data depends on a number of factors, such as space required and data churn. By making a request through the online tool, ISS will be able to advise you of the best location for your research data.

Your data storage options

Research Silo

Projects with larger storage requirements can use the Research Silo filestore on site at Lancaster University. Files are accessible via PC's on campus and from off campus (using the VPN). Data may optionally be shared with colleagues.

Access to storage on the research silo is by request via the online tool. Data on the Research Silo is backed up nightly.

There are no individual file size limits. Your overall quota will be agreed when you request storage space, and may be expanded depending on your requirements. Contact the ISS Service Desk to request any changes to your current Research Silo storage space.

Departmental filestore

Departmental filestore can be used to share data between colleagues in the same department, faculty or for cross faculty collaborations.

Projects with smaller storage requirements (under 50GB) can use departmental filestores on site at Lancaster University. Files are accessible via PC's on campus (normally via R: - Research Drive) and from off campus (using the VPN). Data may optionally be shared with departmental colleagues.

For further information, see: Getting started with departmental filestore. If you have further questions about this, please contact the ISS Service Desk.

Box (cloud storage)

  • Lancaster University provides access to the Lancaster University version of Box (http://lancaster.box.com). Read this Lancaster Answer to find out about how to use Box.
  • LU Box provides secure cloud storage. Research data is accessible from anywhere via the web, mobile apps and on your PC or Mac using Box Sync. Data may optionally be shared with specified colleagues, students and external parties.
  • Box is based in America. It abides by the US 'Safe Harbor agreement', thus following the stated levels of protection within the UK Data Protection Act. Find out more about data security and Box.
  • It is acceptable to store ordinary, confidential, restricted or personal classifications of information on Box. However, if sensitive personal must be stored in Box, additional security is required – native file encryption must be applied on these files before uploading to Box.

Personal Filestore (H: Drive)

All staff including researchers are allocated a default “personal” filestore (your H:Drive) of 1GB. Your personal filestore might be suitable to store your working data if your data files:

  • Are relatively small
  • Do not need to be shared with your Lancaster colleagues

It is possible to increase the storage of your H:Drive if needed. Please contact ISS Help and Support if you want to request additional space.

What about using my laptop or external hard drive to store data?

All data which is stored on devices like laptops or external hard drives, USB sticks etc. is not part of the University backup routine and we we would not encourage researchers to use ad hoc solutions or to rely upon consumer devices for backup purposes. 

If you do use your laptop or other memory holding device, please ensure it is encrypted.  All University provided laptops should be encrypted – contact ISS Service Desk to arrange encryption if needed.

Other Cloud storage 

  • Cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive is a convenient option to access files across devices. The University discourages the use of Cloud based storage solutions (other than Box, see above) for anything but the most public of data.
  • Cloud storage may not be stored within the EU and may not be subject to our levels of data protection (remember that all personal information must, by law, be stored within the EU). There is a risk of who could access the files, as they are no longer within your control.  Data on commercial cloud services is also not necessarily backed up.
  • Cloud storage in services other than Box might be an option for the above mentioned "public" data classified as "Ordinary" by the University's Information Classifications (pdf). Learn more on Lancaster Answers on storing information on the Cloud.

How long do I have access to my research data?

In general, your access to Lancaster University data will end when you leave the organisation.  The last day for staff is the final day of their contract, and for PGR students it is the day they graduate. Find more detailed information to different systems below.

Research Silo and Departmental Filestore

Data in the Departmental Filestore and the Research Silo are not deleted after you leave, as these are University shared storage spaces. Data in these areas will be inaccessible to you whilst your account is suspended and once it is deleted. Access can be granted to others


Data in LU Box is made inaccessible to you when your account is suspended. It is inaccessible but can be restored by request during the three-month period following suspension. It is permanently deleted after this time.

Personal Filestore

Data in your Personal Filestore is made inaccessible to you when your account is suspended. It is inaccessible but can be restored by request during the three-month period following suspension.


Find out more access to data when you leave Lancaster University in the relevant Lancaster Answer.