Data Backup

Data Protection

Computing devices, no matter how attached we might be to them, are ultimately irreplaceable. Your data is not. With an ever-increasing amount of data being generated, data protection is important today more than ever. Fortunately, it’s also easier than ever. 

How can I protect my data?

There’s really one simple answer to this question: back it up!!! Depending on what you’re trying to protect, you might use a different method. Here are our recommendations:

Law School Employees

  • For your work-related data, make sure to use the network shares provided by NYU Law. These drives are backed up on a regular basis, and ITS can help bail you out if you run into any data corruption issues. If for some reason, this is not a practical option, call Helpdesk and we’ll help you figure out a better solution.
  • For personal data, we suggest either portable media or a cloud based service (see below). NYU Law ITS is not responsible for protecting any of your personal data.


For students, we strongly encourage the use of a cloud-based service. Portable media can be used in a pinch, or for larger-size or less-critical backup.

If you have a lot of files, including music, pictures and movie clips, a larger storage format is necessary. If you back up just documents (word processing files) a USB flash drive may be a good option. NYUHome is best for storing specific important documents, since storage is limited. CDs and DVDs are best for more permanent backup of documents that will not change over time (e.g. pictures, music). Several ways to back up are:

Cloud-Based Services

In general, cloud based services provide exceptionally robust backup. Some typical features:

  • you get a local copy of your data on any device you have connected to your account
  • some services provide a version history of your documents (good for recovering from a corrupt file)
  • easy to restore data to a device (eg if you need to reformat an infected machine), or bring your data over to a new device

There are a continually growing number of these services, all with slight variations on how the function, and the features they offer. Here are some popular ones we recommend:

  • Google Drive – Your Gmail account gives you storage on Google Drive. We strongly encourage the use of Google Drive using your NYUHome account. You’ll get 5GB free space. Make sure to set a Google Apps password at the NYU Start Page first! Once that’s set up, go to
  • Dropbox – one of the original services, many users already have a Dropbox account. 2GB free to start with, and several paid tiers, depending on how much data you want to keep in Dropbox. Go to to get started.
  • Skydrive – Microsoft’s entry into the cloud storage services starts you off with 7GB free. Check out to get started.
  • iCloud  - for users with Apple IDs, go to to get your 5GB free.

Portable media

If you’d prefer to physically hold backups in your hand, go for one of these options. Sizes keep increasing as costs go down!

  • USB Flash Drive – Typically can fit in your pocket. Capacities range from a few GB up to 64GB in size … although that will inevitably go up
  • External hard drive – these drives will more happily fit in your desk drawer. Capacities range from a few hundred GB to the several TB (terabyte) range.
  • Optical media – CD/DVD drives are becoming less common on laptops. If you go with this option, capacities are CD-R (~700 MB) or DVD-R (~4.7GB).