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New Interactive Tool Enhances Data Storage Selection Process

Posted Date: 24 Jan 2022

Effective Date: 24 Jan 2022

As the University community migrates from Box to Microsoft’s cloud-storage solutions, Northwestern IT has also introduced a new, interactive tool to help students, faculty, and staff better navigate the various data-storage options available. Launched during the Fall Quarter, the Document Sharing and Data Storage Finder page is now available to browse nine different storage options.

The self-service feature of the tool allows users to instantly learn more about University-provided storage platforms tailored to their individual needs. Answering just a few questions enables users to quickly streamline their results based on their role at Northwestern, how their data is used, or whether any security restrictions should be considered. Users can also directly compare platforms using a variety of criteria.

According to Jackie Milhans, associate director of Research Computing Services in Northwestern IT, the new tool is a welcome addition and one that has become a best practice at leading institutions across the country.

“Essentially, the tool takes the guesswork out of deciding where to store and share information—whether for research or administrative purposes,” Milhans said. “It can be extremely challenging to switch gears if you don’t start out in the right place.”

The tool’s interactive comparison chart—its central feature—offers a range of storage choices, including SharePoint, OneDrive, Research Data Storage Services (RDSS), Quest, public cloud services, and more. When comparing the various options, users instantly have access to review a table of information that includes criteria such as cost, capacity, use cases, information security level, support contacts, and more. In the end, students, faculty, and staff can quickly filter out platforms that do not fit their needs based on their roles or responsibilities.

“I am extremely pleased that we now offer a central location where the community can identify and better understand the myriad of storage services available at Northwestern,” said Steve Kwak, director of platform services in Northwestern IT. “The tool serves a broad section of the University community as a crucial part of selecting storage and sharing options, and I am grateful to our partners across the University for their role in advancing this important initiative.”

Are you curious about the storage options available to you? If so, visit the Document Sharing and Data Storage Finder page to test its features today.

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