Best practices for storing data online



All UA students, faculty, and staff can store files on OneDrive for Business, and/or Google Drive services. Both services feature cloud-based file storage that is accessible anywhere on the internet and backed up regularly. Using either storage option is a more secure way to store your valuable files when compared to using flash drives or depending on the hard drive of a dedicated laptop or desktop computer.

The decision on which service to primarily use will depend on how you work with files and whether or not you will need your cloud storage service to support collaboration.

  • For example, if you primarily use a dedicated desktop or laptop computer and manage files with locally-installed versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, then either OneDrive for Business, or Google Drive should work well for you.
  • If you exclusively use the Office 365 (web-based) versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, then you will want to utilize your OneDrive for Business storage space.
  • If you will be collaborating with colleagues by annotating documents with comments, your better bet would be Microsoft Teams – especially if you need to work with participants outside the University.


There is no restriction against using both services. However, if you choose to utilize both cloud services, you should establish a desktop/laptop home base with both cloud apps installed and learn to use the sync functions. Otherwise, you risk storing different versions of documents on different services, which can be very confusing and time consuming.

Best Practices Based on Data Types

OneDrive for Business and Google Drive use state-of-the-art technology and industry best practices for data encryption during transit to and from the cloud, as well as while stored within the providers data centers. For this reason, we recommend you use only the web interface ( or or official apps to transfer data securely between your device and the provider. If you use an app for OneDrive for Business, or Google Drive that has been developed by a third party, you should take steps to ensure that the app transfers data using a secure method.

OneDrive for Business and Google Drive provide robust security for the data you store. However, due to federal, state, and local laws and University policies and standards, these personal data storage spaces should not be used to store, collect, or share certain types of regulated and sensitive data. Please keep in mind that you are responsible for safeguarding University of Alaska data stored on the computers, devices, and online services you use. Make sure you understand which data types are permissible to be stored on personal storage spaces (e.g. Flash Drives, DVD-R, OneDrive for Business, Google Drive, etc.), as well as departmental storage spaces (e.g. Department File Share, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Google Team Drive, etc.).


Is there any additional information I should know about?

For support, requests may be submitted anytime by Requesting Support for the Office 365 @ UA or Google Workspace @ UA services. Support Requests are worked by Priority based on the Impact and Urgency of need as well as the order they are received by the IT Employees with the knowledge and permissions to assist with the request.

For immediate assistance please review the Contact IT page for ways to contact the appropriate support group.



Article ID: 100
Mon 4/20/20 12:48 PM
Wed 7/27/22 1:50 PM

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