Security: Data Safety and Protection

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Safeguarding Your Data

Learning & Technology Services (LTS) offers network solutions that are designed to provide secure and confidential data storage for UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff. Data that is stored on the network is copied to tape nightly and can be restored on demand in the event of equipment failure or accidental erasure.

Anyone requesting data must have prior approval from the owner of the data and is required to ensure the integrity and security of the data. This means that data is only shared with authorized users and that data and reports are stored only on the UWEC network. Data should not be saved to USB drives or laptops under any circumstances. All printed reports should be disposed of via secure shredding. If data is used inappropriately or is shared in a manner that places it at risk, the data custodian reserves the right to discontinue access to that data.

Some users choose to store files on their desktop hard drives rather than on network storage. While LTS does not prohibit doing so, we are unable to provide the level of data protection for desktop drives that is offered for network storage. We recognize that all computer hardware will eventually fail, and LTS strongly recommends that you take appropriate precautions to safeguard important files stored on your desktop computer.

LTS has identified the following ways in which to store and backup your data:

Network Storage

Network storage facilities are available to Windows, Macintosh, and Linux users, although they are referenced differently in each operating system. For Windows users, network storage locations are identified by "drive letters". Drive letters refer to storage areas that are reserved for specific purposes, the most common of which are:

  • H: The "home directory" provides storage for personal files and folders. This is where you might keep copies of work in progress, personal notes or documents, and other similar data.
  • S: The departmental directory provides storage for files and folders that are to be shared by other members of your department or unit. For example, this directory might contain the collected minutes of department meetings.
  • W: The curricular directory provides storage for files and folders pertaining to academic courses. This directory can also be used to share material with students in specific courses.

For operating system-specific information, please contact the LTS Help Desk at (715) 836-5711.

Although the amount of network storage space is finite, LTS is prepared to make sufficient space available to meet your needs. Faculty and staff may contact the LTS Help Desk to request additional space for their H:, S: and W: storage drives, as well as their UW-Eau Claire email box.

Backup to an External Hard Drive

Another option for protecting files on your desktop computer is to use an external disk drive to perform your own scheduled backups. Mavericks, the Macintosh OS/X operating system (version 10.9), incorporates Time Machine software for that purpose. LTS can assist in configuring your computer, whether Macintosh or Windows, to use an external backup drive; however, you or your department will be responsible for purchasing the necessary hardware and software.


In summary, the two mechanisms identified by LTS for safeguarding your data are:

  • UWEC Network Storage
    • Tested and fully supported by LTS
    • No additional cost
    • Space will be made available as required
  • External Hard Drive
    • LTS will assist with installation and configuration
    • You are responsible for hardware purchase
    • Large capacity but finite

Securing Your Files and Data – FAQs

  • What are the ways that data loss can occur?
    Data loss can occur in a variety of ways which include you intentionally or unintentionally deleting a file, losing a CD or USB drive that a file was stored on, having your computer crash or having your laptop stolen. For additional information of this topic, refer to Data loss on Wikipedia.
  • What are my options for storing files on the UWEC Network?
    UWEC provides you with a personal storage space on its network as well as a couple other common storage areas on the network. For an understanding of the options available and how they can be used, refer to Working with the Common Storage Drives.
  • How do I connect to the network drives while I’m on campus?
    While on campus you have convenient access to the network storage drives. For information on accessing – referred to as mapping – a drive, refer to Mapping Network Drives.
  • Can I connect to the network drives while I’m working from home?
    You, can access any of your files stored on the UWEC network while working at home. For information on how to do so, refer to Remote Access to view the options available to you.
  • How easy is it to access the back-up copies of my files on the network?
    Should you need to access a backup copy of one of your files, you can easily do so from any Windows machine on campus. For information on how to do so, refer to Working with ShadowCopy.
  • Why isn’t my USB drive just as good as the network drives?
    USB drives and other storage media (e.g., CD/DVDs) provide portability for files. However, that same portability makes USB drives vulnerable to loss, damage, or theft. We recommend that files stored on this type of media not be your only copy of the files. Regardless of where you store your files, always have a back up. Files stored on the UWEC network are automatically backed up twice a day by LTS.
  • I’m a Macintosh user so I don’t have as much to worry about, right?
    The type of computer you use makes no difference when it comes to keeping your files and data safe. All users should take the necessary steps to backup and protect their files.