Emerson IT Help Desk

Backing Up Data at Emerson College

Backing up is the process of copying data for future use in the event that the original data is lost, corrupted, or stolen. Additional copies of data are called backups.

How can I back up my data?

Cloud backups are stored on Internet-hosted services such as Google Drive and Box. These backups are accessible from anywhere and are safe from physical damage.

Local backups are stored on external drives that you connect to your computer. Local backups are the fastest way to copy data, but are susceptible to the same causes of damage and loss as the original data.


At Emerson, we have two primary options for backing up data in the cloud: Google Drive and Box.

  • Google Drive is a great tool for backing up your data. All students, staff, and faculty have unlimited storage space on Google Drive through Emerson. Go to drive.google.com and sign in with your Emerson credentials.
    • Google Drive's companion apps, Backup and Sync and File Stream, help automate your backups and make it easier to access Google Drive. Read more about these programs here
  • Box is another great tool for backing your data, and is the only acceptable place for sensitive data. All students, staff, and faculty have 25 GB of storage allocated to their accounts. Go to box.emerson.edu and sign in with your Emerson credentials along with Duo two-factor authentication.
    • Box also has apps such as Box Drive and Box Sync to help organize and automate your cloud backup. For more information on Box Drive, click here. For more information on Box Sync, click here.

Students, read up on how your access to these services changes when you graduate.


If you cannot access the Internet, or chose to not use a cloud service, you have a couple of options for making local backups.

  • Flash drives are small, highly portable drives that are commonly referred to as pen, thumb, or stick drives. Unlike many other portable drives, Flash has no moving parts. 
    • Do not try to open files and work on them directly from a flash drive! We recommend dragging them to your desktop first and opening from there. Use the flash drive for back up and transfer.
  • External hard drives are also great for backups, especially if speed is a concern. However, like with your internal disk drive, data can be lost with any malfunction of, or physical damage to, the drive. The size of the drive you buy is entirely up to you, just be sure to check the type of ports you have on your computer to make sure it is compatible with the connectivity options on the drive.

Other than local data, what else should I back up?

While they may not be as crucial as losing data, we recommend backing up your browser bookmarks before switching to a new computer. Take a look at our guide for instructions: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002413966-Export-and-Import-Browser-Bookmarks

If you have any questions, please submit a request here.

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