Don’t lose your work! How and why to use the University backup services

Why you need to back up your data 

Your data is of value to you and to the University. No one wants to lose their work or research data and this can easily be prevented by using our secure free back up services.

Common causes of data loss include accidentally deleting a file or folder, or when a machine (or the drive with important data on) is stolen, lost or breaks down. Retrieving files from a broken machine is an expensive process and is not always successful; a stolen laptop is unlikely ever to be seen by its owner again. Data may be targeted by criminals in ransomware attacks.  

Too many people only worry about backing up when it’s too late; if you have only one copy of your data, and that copy were to be lost, then your files might be gone forever. An off-site backup, where one or more copies of your data gets kept in a different location, is key to preventing data loss and to recovering files safely. IT Services offer two solutions which are the University-recommended ways to keep your data safe and secure.

What are the backup services? 

The University offers two free back-up services that are multi-site and resilient:

  • CrashPlan is the recommended tool for single-user laptops and desktop computers and allows you to back up your data from anywhere in the world. Backups run automatically every fifteen minutes, and unlimited different versions of files are kept which you can go back to if you need them. This service will be of interest to staff, postgraduates and researchers who have a machine that they keep their data on; it’s not suitable for servers. (Please note that users of the fully managed staff PC (CONNECT) service have the file store data backed up as part of that service – see the IT Services managed staff PC Help pages for more details).  
  • Spectrum Protect is ideal for backing up servers, databases, virtual machines, computers used by more than one person, and large data sets of several terabytes or more; for example, if you have a machine in a lab where all the important data is kept, or if your work involves very large files, then this solution would be for you.

Find out which University backup service suits your needs to securely store University data.

Back up your data now 

To use our free and secure services, you need to install and set up backup software on your machine. Whichever of our two services you choose, your data can then be sent over the network to secure servers. The backup software is available on our website for easy download and setup of Crashplan and Spectrum Protect.   

See the HFS backup service help pages for more information on choosing your backup service and getting started. The Backup Services Team is here to help: if you have questions, or problems with getting your backups working, contact us on