Safe Data

Protect your scholarly work while working from home

Tips for securing your computer, network, and files, as well as resources for doing research remotely.

Your computer


Your home internet network

  • Turn on (WPA2) encryption for your wireless network, with a good passcode.  This ensures communication between your computer and your wireless router is encrypted.  It does not mean all Internet traffic is encrypted.
  • Use the University VPN when working from University-supported servers or when transferring sensitive data. 

Your data and files

  • Make sure your information is backed up - this is the only way you can recover files if your computer breaks, is damaged, gets infected with malware/Ransomware, or you accidentally delete a file. 
  • The easiest way to ensure your files are backed up is to store them on systems that are automatically backed up. We recommend storing and working with files directly on your Home or Shared Drive, UMN Box, or UMN Google Drive to ensure they are protected (see table below). See the Storage Selection Tool to find and compare UMN storage options. 


Backup Features
✓ Easy; ▲ May require IT; ✗ Not possible
Storage location Retrieve a deleted file Roll back an accidental change Redundant backend storage
Home/Shared Drive (
UMN Google Drive
UMN Box 
Computer Harddrive


How to I use files stored in these locations?
Storage location In a browser On your computer
Home/Shared Drive ( N/A Map the drive
UMN Google Drive Google File Stream
UMN Box  Box Drive


  • If you store files directly on your computer (i.e., in your desktop or documents folders), your data IS NOT backed up by default. We recommend doing one of the following:
    • If you are a faculty member using a university-owned computer, you are eligible for CrashPlan, which provides a backup of your computer. Contact [email protected] for more information. 
    • Use Google Backup & Sync to backup your computer (note that UMN Google Drive is going to be limited soon, likely to ~50GB, so this may not be appropriate if you have a large amount of data to be backed up)
    • Use an automatic backup system, such as TimeMachine or Windows backup, with an external drive.


What do I do if my computer breaks?

University owned


  • Contact 1-HELP at [email protected] or 612-301-4357
  • University IT will help assess an issue with a personal computer and help configure them to access University resources
  • However, University IT can not repair hardware or software issues on a personal computer and will refer you to an outside service for repair

Doing your research remotely

Access software


Collect data


Analyze data 


Additional Resources

University Training Course for securely working from home

Canvas course includes modules for securing your network, avoiding cyber attacks, protecting kids online, and using strong passwords.

SANS Five steps to securely work from home

One page guide, available in several languages.

OIT's guide to working and learning from home 

Resources for connecting to University technology at home.

LATIS TEL's guide for teaching remotely

Best practices, workshops, and tips for effective remote teaching.