Advancing technology continues to provide researchers with better and more efficient tools for collecting and processing data, tools that accelerate the progress of scientific study. Paper files are rapidly being replaced with digital data that exist on hard drives instead of in locked file cabinets. While these new modes of gathering and storing data offer significant advantages, they are not without their limitations and vulnerabilities. Hackers, viruses, and other security threats, in addition to hardware or software failures can cause significant loss to data stores and can violate research participants’ privacy and confidentiality. UVa requires its researchers to follow their Data Protection Standards as outlined by IT Services, but if your background isn’t IT heavy, it may be difficult to navigate on your own. UVa Library offers Scientific Data Consulting to help researchers improve their data collection and management techniques. If you have questions or need ideas, consider contacting their office; not only will you better protect research participants, you could improve your research in general. Check out our Data Collection and Storage section for more information about IRB-SBS policies and recommendations.