[Cs-affiliates] offsite backup requirement for research data?

Paul Stauffer paulds at bu.edu
Thu Oct 12 10:21:51 EDT 2017

Hi all,

I had a meeting yesterday with IS&T about future plans for their backups
infrastructure.  One of the questions that came up was regarding the need
for off-site backups; in the past this was handled by shipping tapes
off-site to Iron Mountain, but they are transitioning away from that to a
service that uses Amazon S3.  This has a number of benefits, but the cost
structure is much more granular and more closely tied to data sizes.  As a
result, the question was raised whether it's necessary to maintain
second copies of all backups off-campus going forward, or if that could be
limited to only those datasets that require it.

So my question for all of you is, do you have any research datasets
currently being backed up by IS&T that have a regulatory requirement for
off-site backups?  Apparently the NSF has required this in the past for some
HIPPA data, but I'm not aware of all of the details.  Note that all backups
will continue to be housed at the IS&T data center at 881 Comm Ave in west
campus regardless, which is probably sufficient protection for most likely
disaster recovery scenarios; so we're really only wondering if anyone has
any specific obligation to maintain copies of their data more "off site"
than that.

If you have such a requirement, please let me know the details, and I'll
communicate that with IS&T.  Otherwise, if no one speaks up, I'll assume all
of our data is adequately protected by on-campus backups, and we can tell
them to exempt us from backups to S3.

- Paul

Paul Stauffer <paulds at bu.edu>
IT Manager, Boston University Dept of Computer Science
Full contact details: https://cs-people.bu.edu/paulds/
My normal working hours are 7:00AM - 4:00PM Eastern.

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