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Safe and Durable Computer File Storage

Safe and Durable Computer File Storage for Faculty and Staff

Purchase College provides a variety of options for safe and durable storage of computer files. However, some locations – like your desktop/laptop computer – are NOT safe and durable storage. If your desktop/laptop computer is infected with Malware (108 instances in the last 12 months) it is not possible to recover your files. Therefore it is important to understand the differences among the storage options available to you.

Staff and Faculty are typically provided:

  •        An Exchange/Outlook mailbox with 1gb of space
  •        A Personal Home Directory
  •        Staff members are typically added to their departmental file share upon request.
  •        Faculty members often set up class files shares on a file server.
  •        Full time faculty and staff are typically provided with a desktop or laptop computer.

Exchange/Outlook Mailbox: Your mailbox is backed up regularly. However, a 1gb mailbox is no longer a lot of space in an age where people think nothing of sending multiple 5mb attachments with a single message. Email - with its fragmented threads - is also the worst filing cabinet ever invented. In addition, the College enforces a 3-year retention period for email messages – once a message reaches 3 years old, it is purged. Restoring email from backup is complicated and time consuming. So, if you receive important files via email – save them to a safe and durable location.

Home Directory: Your Home Directory shows up as your “H” drive when you log into your workstation. Your Home Directory is actually located on one of the College’s file servers. Your “Documents” folder is pointed to your Home Directory automatically on Windows computers, but not on Macs. Home Directories have no retention limit, and they are backed up nightly. Your Home Directory is SAFE and DURABLE storage.

Your Home Directory is protected by the Purchase College Privacy Policy – it is not accessible by anyone besides you. Use your home directory for college-related materials you are not sharing with colleagues – draft documents, HR or budget-related materials you are working on – things you do not need to share with others.

Departmental File shares: These are folders hosted on a server by CTS for the purpose of holding work-related data that is used by multiple members of a department or group of users. Department Personnel have access granted to these shares based on the work requirements of their position and the permission of their supervisor(s). Use your Departmental file share for files shared with others in your department with permission to that specific share. File shares are ‘mapped’ or ‘linked to’ on a per-user and per-computer basis. Departmental File Shares are SAFE and DURABLE.

Collaboration Space: The College offers a SharePoint Collaboration server that offers more sophisticated collaboration capabilities than the simple departmental file share. SharePoint Committee/Team sites contain a document library, team calendars, discussions, and announcements, task lists, wikis, and more. Team members are granted the ability to add, modify and delete files based on their permission levels.  SharePoint team sites are SAFE and DURABLE storage.

Self-Service File/Web/Database space: Faculty (and students) can request a File Space resource. This is the same as your “Home Directory” (faculty already have a Home Directory, and don’t need to ask – the link is there for students, who do not get a home directory by default.)

Faculty (and Students) can also request Web Publishing space to run a web site, and a MySQL database.

File/Web/Database resources are backed up nightly, and are SAFE and DURABLE storage.

The link to request Web/Database space: https://www.purchase.edu/ResourceRequest/MainPage.aspx

Class File shares: Faculty can also request “Class File shares” that can be used to save class assignments. These are directories on a file server, typically arranged by class. Permissions are usually set where the instructor can see all the contents, but a student can only add/replace/delete their own files (and not the other students in the class). However, permissions are flexible and can be configured differently depending on the collaboration needs of the class. Class File shares are backed up nightly, and are SAFE and DURABLE.

To request a Class File share, please submit a Work Order that includes the semester and course numbers you wish to have included.

 

Your Desktop/Laptop Computer: Your computer should not be considered safe or durable storage since the College does NOT back up any of the files stored directly on the drives contained in your desktop computer or laptop. If the drive on your computer crashes, if your machine comes down with a virus, catches ransomware, or if your laptop is lost or stolen, we cannot recover any of the materials you may have stored there.

Please take care to store important work in one of the safe and durable locations available to you.

 

Differences - Windows and Macs: While the resources described above are available to any computer – note that there are some differences in how Windows or Mac machines show these resources.

On Windows, these ‘mappings’ have letters assigned to them for easy recognition and are often referred to by these associations (example: “H drive” or “K drive”). Mapped drives on Windows computers show up under “Network Locations” within the “Computer” tab which is accessible from the Start Menu.

On Macs, these same file shares are ‘mounted’ by the operating system and usually show up as a shortcut on the user’s desktop or can be viewed by selecting “Computer” from the “Go” menu. They function in largely the same way as they do on Windows computers.

On CTS-managed Windows workstations, your “Documents” folder is automatically synced with their personal home directory folder on the server. Mac computers on the network can also connect to a user’s home directory, but it may need to be manually connected depending on how the computer was initially configured. A connected home directory appears in the same fashion as a mapped file share on a Mac.

If you have any questions related to Purchase College’s data storage options and procedures, feel free to give us a call at 914-251-6465 or email us at helpdesk@purchase.edu and we will be happy to assist you.