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Cybersecurity: secure file sharing and storage

31 May 2021

All university staff members process data that cannot be publicly shared: your own personal data or that of research participants, students or colleagues, for example. This makes it important that everyone knows how to securely store and share documents. Here are three tips.


Use Office 365 (OneDrive) to access files in your work environment, also if you are working outside the university – at home or on public computer, for instance – and want to open, save and share files. More information on using OneDrive.

If you are not working on the university’s eduroam network, make sure you have a safe connection. Use a strong password for your router at home or use a mobile hotspot instead. Public networks – on a train, for instance – are not safe unless you use a VPN connection. SURF, the digital partnership between universities, provides EduVPN for this purpose. For more information and instructions, see here.

Use SURFdrive and SURFsender to share large files with external parties. These services provide a secure alternative to WeTransfer, Dropbox and Google Drive. For more information see here

USB sticks and external hard drives are not a safe way to share and store files. Use the above options instead.

If you want to throw away a USB stick, don’t throw it in the waste bin. Hackers can often easily retrieve deleted data, even if you’ve deleted files. Hand the USB stick in at the reception of one of the university buildings instead. The receptionist will bring the USB stick to the ISSC, where they will destroy it.

If you find a USB stick, never insert it in your computer to see what’s on it. Some USB sticks have malware on them. Hand the USB stick in at the reception instead, so that it can be destroyed. 

E-learing modules on security and privacy

For more tips on safe remote working see the webpage on privacy and data protection. If you’d like to find out more, you can also follow e-learning modules on security and privacy.

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