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Decide How to Store and Share Files

Several services at Brown allow you to share and store files. This guide will let you compare the options and decide which one(s) are right for you.

Table of Content

 

Easy to Use

Google Drive

Google Drive gives you unlimited space store and share documents. The native Google document formats allow for real-time collaboration and versioning. You can also store unconverted files of various types in your Google Drive. It's easy to share files with members of the Brown community (including Google Groups) and non-Brown Google accounts; files can be shared with view-only, comment, or edit access. You can access files on the web, through a mobile app, or by installing Google Drive on your computer (which makes it act like a folder on your computer).

  • Best for: Collaboration in native Google files, easy access from anywhere, unlimited storage, sharing with Google Groups.

  • Limitations: Some confusion / lost formatting when opening shared Office documents in Chrome.

  • More info: Service Catalog | Documentation

Dropbox

Brown offers free, large-quota Dropbox.com accounts. These are great for storing all types of files; some people prefer Dropbox to Google Drive because the latter can accidentally convert Office documents to an editable version. You can access files on the web, through a mobile app, or by installing Dropbox on your computer (which makes it act like a folder on your computer). Brown team accounts have more storage and version history than consumer accounts.

  • Best for: Sharing and storing various file types including Office files and photo galleries, easy access from many devices

  • Limitations: To give edit access to a file, it must be in a folder; this means you must create a new folder for each combination of people who will be editing files. Child folders always inherit permissions from the parent (you cannot remove collaborators from child folders).

  • More info:Service Catalog | Documentation

BrownBox

CCV's BrownBox is a Brown-hosted service for sending files that are too large for email. You have to be a member of the Brown community to send a file, but files can be sent to anyone. This service is not backed up and not intended for permanent storage.

  • Best for: Quickly emailing links to large files for download

  • Limitations: Not backed up, for temporary storage only

  • More info: Service Catalog | Documentation

Especially For Research

Campus File Storage / Research

File Services for Research provides Brown University research departments with a location in which files can be stored, backed up, and shared with members of the Brown community.  Space is allocated to each research organization or department, and we can adjust quota by request.  

  • Best for: Storing, sharing and protecting research data.

  • Limitations: Currently it is not automatically connected to Brown’s supercomputer (unlike RData); if computation is needed, users usually perform computation in their own labs.

  • More info: Documentation

Research Data Storage (RData)

RData is a high performance data storage system which is accessible from any computer connected from Brown's campus network.  It is backed up nightly on an incremental basis. All faculty or PI's receive 256GB free allocation; additional storage may be purchased. What sets this option apart from the others is that it is directly connect to Brown’s supercomputer, making computation easier. If you don’t intend to compute on your data with Brown’s supercomputer, you may consider using Campus File Storage / Research instead.

  • Best for: High performance storage of research data, perform computation on your data using Brown’s supercomputer, high-speed transfer to other research sites via Internet 2.

  • More info: Documentation

Stronghold

Stronghold is a secure computing and storage environment that enables Brown researchers to analyze sensitive data while complying with regulatory or contractual requirements.

 

  • Best for: Storing data with data usage agreements, FISMA, etc.

  • More info: Service Catalog



General File Storage

These additional storage options are provided on the Campus File Storage platform.

 

Campus File Storage / Department File Services

Departmental File Services provides University departments with a location in which files can be stored, backed up, and shared across the department. The service can be accessed by mapping the drive on your computer (Windows Explorer on PC or Finder on a Mac), or by visiting webfiles.brown.edu in a web browser.

  • Best for: Backing up and sharing official department documents, ensuring longevity of documents after file authors leave Brown.

  • Limitations: Can only be accessed on the Brown network or with VPN. Not as easy to access as consumer services (no app, web access is a bit clunky). Sharing is not easy: no sharing with people outside of Brown, no sharing with people who don't have access to the department folders. 

  • More info: Service Catalog | Documentation

Campus File Storage / Home Folder

Each member of the Brown community has a “home folder” to store files. This folder shows up on computers in computing labs so you can take files with you without having to email them to yourself. You can also access this folder when using RemoteApps (for example, the virtual Engineering lab). In some departments with managed computers, computer folders such as “Documents” redirect to the home folder, providing backup and easier access to files when away from the computer. Along with the already mentioned ways of accessing the folder, you can also access it by mapping the drive on your computer or by visiting webfiles.brown.edu in a web browser.

  • Best for: Storing files in computing labs, working on files when using a RemoteApp, student access to file storage.

  • Limitations: Can only be accessed on the Brown network or with VPN. Not as easy to access as consumer services (no app, web access is a bit clunky). Not intended for sharing.

  • More info: Documentation

 

Comparison table

 

Google Drive

Dropbox

Brownbox

Campus File Storage

RData

Stronghold

Collaborative editing

x

         

Easy access from smartphones

x

x

       

Share a file by sending the link

x

x

x

     

Backed up

x

x

 

x

x

x

Search stored files when you search files on your computer

x

x

 

x

x

 

Login required to access shared data

 

Only for editing

 

x

x

x

Brown-provided account required to access shared data

     

x

x

x

Access restricted to Brown campus or VPN

     

x

x

x

Integration with Supercomputer

       

x

 

Allow guest upload

 

x

x

     

Security Features

Prevent editors from  resharing, set expiration date

Share with password, set expiration date

Share with password

Access controlled by Brown security groups

 

Appropriate for data with strong data compliance requirements

Storage per user

Unlimited

Practically unlimited*

Default of 10GB

100GB - 10TB+

265GB free, more on request

 

Max file size

5TB

20GB

10GB

4TB (1TB for best performance)

8XB

 




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