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Related information
  • Data classification guidelines
  • Information security > protecting your data

Data management is the center around which all computing activities revolve. Managing your data involves classifying, sorting, sharing, backing up, and securing the data. We view the data management activities as falling in 3 intertwined categories. These are:

Data Classification

Data classification is the practice of identifying the nature of the data and classifying it into restricted, private, or public categories and then accordingly implementing measures to safeguard the data. Briefly, the student’s data is theirs to manage as they like and faculty teaching data is also theirs to manage according to their needs. We are mostly concerned with institutional data that should be classified appropriately using university guidelines and then handled accordingly. Read more (link to information security sub-section).

Files (using and sharing)

Your files are stored in multiple locations. These are:

Network drives: one place to store your files that can be accessed from anywhere

Your laptop: the hard disk of your laptop

Andrew filesystem: your Linux account’s home directory is stored on Andrew filesystem and can be accessed on any other Linux system

Other storage services: in limited circumstances, other storage services can be used for storing files

Network drives

The network drives are the most preferred place for you to store your data. The drives are automatically available on your Windows or Mac laptop when you are on campus. The drives are also available in Clusters, Virtual.Qatar, and podium computers in the classrooms. When you are off-campus, you can access the network drives through a VPN (virtual private network) connection. You can also access your files from anywhere using a web browser, SFTP (or SCP), and WebDAV as well. We automatically backup all data on network drives several times a week. In the future, we will make the network drives available to you on mobiles (Android and iOS) and permit synchronization of the data to your computer or mobile device.

The network drives are the one place to store your data and then access it from anywhere at at any time.

There are two network drives at this time: U Drive (U for “user”) is your personal drive that only you have access to. S Drive (S for “shared”) is meant for sharing files with people in your department (S:\departments folder), projects and teams (S:\projects folder), and students (S:\students folder).

Accessing Network Drives

Network Drives may be accessed in several ways. These are:

  • Mapped or mounted on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers directly
  • Using FileCloud
    • Web browser at (preferred)
    • Synchronized (U Drive only) on your Windows, Mac, or Linux system
    • Mobile app access on iOS and Android
    • “Cloud drive” on Windows systems
    • WebDAV interface at
  • SCP (based on SSH) access via
  • Web browser via Files.Qatar at (deprecated)
Your laptop

Files are also stored on your Windows or Mac laptop issued by IT. Only you have access to this data. Please be sure to properly set up a backup (see next section) to guard against data loss.

Andrew filesystem

Our Linux systems ( store files on the Andrew filesystem (AFS). On these systems you home directory resides on AFS. Most Linux systems managed by CMU use AFS to store and share data. For example, if you login to the main campus Linux systems (, you will find the same home directory there as you have in our Linux systems. You can learn more about the AFS.

Other storage services

You should not store CMU institutional data on 3rd party storage services like your personal Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. Institutional data should either be stored on (in order of preference) the network drives, you university provided laptop, or the Andrew filesystem. The university does provide faculty, staff, and students a account (access through that can be used for non-restricted data. If you have a need to use other storage services, please contact us to determine if it is appropriate to use other devices for the data you want to store.

Data Backup

We use several backup systems to safeguard our data against loss. Our data backup practices are as follows:

Network drives: We back up network drives every day and keep backups for 4 weeks. You do not have to do anything to back up your data on the network drives.

Your laptop: We provide CrashPlan Pro to back up the data on your computer. You are responsible for making sure that the right folders are being backed up by CrashPlan Pro. We do not do system backups for laptops or cluster computers. If a hard disk crashes, image a new hard drive with all the software provided with your laptop and restore your data from the CrashPlan Pro backup. If you want to also perform regular full system backups, then please contact us for making arrangements.

Andrew filesystem: We back up the Andrew filesystem data every day and keep backups for 4 weeks. You do not have to do anything to back up your data on the Andrew filesystem. Box automatically performs backup of you data. Please refer to the Box website for additional information.

Learn more about backing up your data.