Aug. 11, 2011

CyFiles: New storage space for all

by Diana Pounds

Every student, faculty and staff member recently acquired 5GB of free digital storage space.

The new CyFiles space, intended for all kinds of university-related storage needs, has several convenient features:

  • The space stays with employees and students throughout their tenure at Iowa State. An employee who changes departments or a student who changes majors will keep the same space.
  • CyFiles can be accessed off campus, with the use of free VPN (virtual private network) software
  • Files are backed up regularly, and those who need to recover files can do it themselves, without need of technical assistance
  • Individuals can grant permission to others in the university community to access their CyFiles space

Information Technology Services partnered with campus IT specialists to establish CyFiles in response to employee and student interest in a universal storage system that could be accessed from on and off campus.

"Currently, many employees and students scatter their files around, stashing them in departmental spaces, computer hard drives, thumb drives, CDs and Web-based storage sites," said Mark Bland, technical project lead. "Students may have as many storage spots as they do classes and labs, using various spaces set aside for their work.

"We think CyFiles will appeal to individuals who'd like to combine some of those scattered files into a single spot," he added. "The storage is easily accessed from a variety of computers and should be ample for most individuals."

Anyone with an ISU Net-ID automatically received 5GB of free space on CyFiles. Those who need more space can buy it (at a rate of 10 cents per GB, per month) through Account Services on the Web (ASW).

"CyFiles is a great service that will allow students to easily share files across computers and also provide a safe and secure location for many of their files," said Dakota Hoben, Government of the Student Body president. "This is a fine example of how Iowa State is keeping up with technology. With online services like Dropbox already being used by many students, CyFiles provides more storage to students at no cost."

What can be stored on CyFiles

CyFiles is intended for university-related activity. Class work, presentations and office files can go there. So can photos, video and music that will be used for university or class work. The space is not appropriate for purely personal use, such as storing one's music collection.

The Code of Computer Ethics and Acceptable Use is a good reference on appropriate use of CyFiles and other university resources.

How to access CyFiles

For those on PCs that are members of the IASTATE domain*, connecting to CyFiles may be as easy as clicking "My Computer" and finding the "U" drive. Those trying to connect from off campus, personally owned computers, Macs or PCs that are not members of the IASTATE domain will need to set up and connect through a VPN and manually connect to CyFiles.

Detailed information on how to connect from a variety of computers is available on the CyFiles website. Applications to connect automatically to CyFiles from off-campus and personally owned computers currently are in development.

*Only university-owned computers can be joined to the IASTATE domain, and most university computers are members of IASTATE. There are a few exceptions in some departments, where computers are joined to other domains. Personally owned computers are not eligible to be joined to the IASTATE domain.