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Information Technology

Information Management for Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst

Information Management is the practice of treating information as an institutional resource that requires rules and practices for business process, privacy, security, compliance and risk management.  

Although information management applies to all forms of institutional information and research data not matter what its format (e.g. paper or electronic), increasingly it relies upon information technology tools in this process. Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst, provided by Box, is such a tool. As such, in and of itself it does not automatically manage business process or compliance but requires the user to take these factors into account. Thus, UMass Amherst IT offers this tool with the understanding users must make informed decisions. Compliant technology does not guarantee compliant business processes.

Box sync is a feature that people like to use, as it provides access to documents from a user’s many devices. What many users do not take into consideration is that Box sync takes a copy of a user document and downloads it to a folder on each of a user’s computers or devices. The document, in Box cloud storage, is secure (as defined under the terms of the UMass Amherst contract with Box), and remains secure and covered if accessed, edited, and shared using the Box cloud web interface. The copy of the document, Box-synced to a computer as a local file, is no longer covered by the contract. It is only as secure as the computer, its physical location, the network it is on, and the user’s practices.

Learning what features in Box are appropriate for different types of data, and planning how that data is to be used or accessed from multiple devices should be worked out as a first step. Deciding how data is shared between users, who has access to what data, and what the potential risks of exposure of the data, means the planning for these workflows should be considered before putting anything in Box folders.

We recommend that any individuals, departments, business units, and schools/colleges wanting to store any data in Box or elsewhere please see the online sites Information Management and Storing University Data and Understand Sensitive Data at UMass Amherst before undertaking any data storage or collaboration related initiatives. For specific questions regarding Information Management of your particular data that cannot be answered by the above online resources, please contact