ITS Documentation

Storage Solutions Summary Chart

R1468 • August 2014

The university provides multiple options to help you access, share, and store the information you need to accomplish your goals at work, school, or in your research. Some options make it easy to collaborate, while others are more appropriate for storing sensitive information -- some do both! This page provides information on the pros and cons of the university's preferred options, focusing on solutions common to faculty and staff.

Students can review additional options in their Standard Computing Services, while faculty and staff may find appropriate solutions in other ITS storage offerings. UMHS faculty, staff, researchers and medical students may find what they need in MiShare, the file transfer service that supports protected health information (PHI).

Can't find what you're looking for? Have feedback on this chart? Please let us know!

For tips on handling sensitive or regulated data, please consult the university's Sensitive Regulated Data: Permitted and Restricted Uses Standard.

Table of Contents

M+Google

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
  • Seamless integration with M+Google for real-time collaboration within and beyond U-M
  • Access files without a network connection; when you next connect, files auto-sync to the cloud
  • For most files, M+Google does everything your department or local drive does, plus syncing, sharing, and collaborating
  • Working on documents with other people
  • Microsoft Office-type documents with moderate formatting requirements such as meeting minutes, status reports, presentations
  • Not compliant with regulated data (except for FERPA)
  • Manual transfer of files required for individuals closing accounts
  • Many features do not work well with standard assistive technologies used by people with disabilities
File Space:
  • Unlimited for native Drive files
  • 30GB shared with mail for non-native files
Backup:
Access via:
  • Web
  • Mobile (App. Req.)
  • PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone
  • Share files via M+Google

M+Box

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
  • Share and sync your files much like M+Google, but enjoy a robust 50 GB limit
  • Great solution for large files or collections like videos and project folders
  • Shared accounts available for classes and projects
  • Non-M+Google files, e.g., MS Office, media formats
  • Multi-platform support
  • Nearly any file that you would have previously stored in 'My Documents' or on a network drive
  • Regulated data types, including FERPA, GLBA, HIPPA
  • No sync client for Linux

File Space: 50 GB
Individual 200 GB shared

Backup:

  • Sync to cloud
  • Automatic backup with 30-day file recovery

Easy transfer of files for individuals closing accounts

Access via:
  • Web
  • Mobile Access (m.box.com)
  • Accessible Access (a.box.com)
  • Mobile Apps (download required)
  • PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone
  • Access directly from CTools

Share files via M+Box

  • Large file capacity
  • Open most file formats directly in M+Box
  • Interface for sharing with anyone, inside and outside the U-M network, with several levels of access
  • Alumni and retirees keep accounts

CTools

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
Website that integrates coursework, collaboration, resources, and task management. Creating, sharing, and accessing course or project content with students or colleagues on a website.
  • Limited search functionality
  • No version control on documents
File Space:
  • 3GB per site
  • expandable by request
Backup:
  • Full system backup for disaster recovery
  • limited restoration of deleted files upon request
Access files via:
  • Web
  • WebDAV
  • Mobile
Role-based permissioning eases transfer of content ownership

Yes; Uniqname or Friend account required for authenticated access. Files can be made publicly accessible from Project Sites (but not Course Sites)
  • Combines range of classroom resources such as grades, library items, assignments, and course materials.
  • Can integrate other services in CTools environment including M+Google, M+Box and other cloud services.

Shared & Home Directory Drives

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
  • Networked storage solutions (e.g. G, F, S drives) vary greatly by unit and department
  • Lack the enhanced features of M+Google or M+Box, such as shared editing, mobile access, or syncing to the cloud.
Files containing some types of sensitive regulated data. See the Sensitive Regulated Data Standard.
  • Not available on mobile devices
  • Files are only shared with others who can access the shared drive
File space varies, ask your local IT staff.
  • Access remotely via VPN or SFTP
  • Share files only available through shared drive access
Role-based permissioning in shared drives eases transfer of content ownership

MiWorkspace

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
  • New desktop service offers shared and personal networked storage drives for participating units.
  • Compliant for some types of sensitive data.
  • Not available on mobile devices
  • Files may only be shared with others who can access the shared drive
File Space:
  • 5 GB of personal storage
  • departmental storage capacity may vary
  • Access via MiWorkspace device or remotely via VPN or SFTP
  • Share files through shared drive access only
  • Meets many data regulation standards such as Export Control and HIPAA
  • Role-based permissioning in shared drives eases transfer of content ownership

SharePoint

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
  • Website that integrates collaboration, resources, and task management.
  • Two services are available on campus, one in LSA and one in B&F.
  • Using workflow capabilities
  • Documents that need version management
  • Limited search functionality
  • No self-service to set up sites
Depends on service (LSA or B&F)
  • Browser or directly from desktop
  • Role-based permissioning eases transfer of content ownership
  • Yes: with U-M students, faculty, staff
  • Combines range of resources such as file storage, calendar, lists, blogs, Web pages and other tools.
  • Robust version control on document, including document checkout.

AFS/IFS- MFile

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
Central file storage, sharing, and retrieval system accessible from Mac, Windows, and Unix computers Hosting websites with Unix access
  • Lacks enhanced features of M+Google or M+Box, such as shared editing, mobile access, or syncing to the cloud
  • Cumbersome file access
File Space:
  • 10GB for all U-M community members
Backup:
  • Daily and weekly back-ups with 8 week total retention
Access via: Share files via:
  • IFS space (may require special formatting for multi-platform access)
Integrated with some long-standing U-M services

Local Drive

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
  • This option is out-dated compared to cloud- based solutions.
  • M+Google and M+Box offer better options,  integrate with most applications, including MS-Office, and add features such as syncing and sharing.
None. M+Google and M+Box provide better options.
  • Risk of data loss if computer damaged, lost, or stolen
  • Not integrated into U-M systems, e.g., MCommunity
  • Not available on another device
  • No ability to share files, as compared to cloud products
  • File space varies
  • Back-up varies
  • Access via local device only
  • No shared file access
No internet access required to access files. M+Google and M+Box provide same option.

Removable Media

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
Jump drive, CD, or external hard drive stores or transfers files originally created or stored on another computing device
  • Transferring files to other computers
  • In general, removable media should not be used for permanent storage
  • Risk of data loss if media damaged, lost, or stolen
  • Not integrated into U-M systems
  • Not recommended for any sensitive data types
Varies by device
  • Requires access to laptop or desktop
  • No; Downloading and re-sending requiredM
Portable

Other Cloud Services (like DropBox, Skydrive, Sugarsync, CX)

Summary Best For Drawbacks File Space & Backup Interface Options Unique Features
These services offer similar capabilities to M+Google and M+Box.
  • Personal data
  • Whenever possible, U-M data should reside on a service directly supported by U-M.
  • Not integrated into U-M systems (in contrast to M+Google with MCommunity)
  • Not protected under a U-M contract
  • Not supported by U-M
  • 50GB of space in M+Box far exceeds other cloud-based offerings
varies varies varies

Getting Help

The ITS Service Center provides a variety of computing help resources.

For further help with this or any other topic, call 734-764-HELP [4357] or submit an online service request.