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Supporting Your Institutional Research Mission: Let’s Talk About Strategies and Resources for Research Cybersecurity and Compliance at the Upcoming 2019 Global Summit

Feb 20, 2019, by Sara Aly
Tags: 2019 Internet2 Global Summit, Frontpage News, Health & Life Sciences, InCommon Federation, National Science Foundation, Research Support, Science & Engineering, Trust & Identity

By Jim Basney, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign; Michael Corn, University of California - San Diego; and Von Welch, Indiana University.

Policies on compliance and cybersecurity help institutions protect their data and ensure confidentiality. Most campus administrators who are tasked with managing institutional data think of HIPAA and CUI (Controlled Unclassified Information) when we talk about research and cybersecurity.

Yet for many researchers, sharing and accessing data across institutions and geographic boundaries is critical to their collaboration, and cybersecurity in the name of compliance and confidentiality seems a burden without benefit. Their ability to perform research seamlessly requires administrators to plan ahead for cybersecurity and compliance beyond HIPAA and CUI.

Imagine a researcher on your campus is collaborating on multi-messenger astronomy research. They are ingesting data from a detector on the other side of the world, analyzing data, and sharing their results broadly with thousands of participating scientists worldwide. This requires their seamless access to remote instruments and ability to share data repositories freely outside the institution. How will this researcher’s workflows fit into your cybersecurity program and IT infrastructure? Can your infrastructure provide the integrity protections to provide trust in this research while allowing the broad sharing and collaboration? Do you know how to go about engaging with the researcher to arrive at such a set of cybersecurity controls?

As information security professionals who are part of two NSF-funded cybersecurity centers, Trusted CI and the ResearchSOC, we have worked very closely with researchers over decades and have learned that the key to achieving collaboration is to present issues around compliance and cybersecurity in terms that are meaningful to the researcher by emphasizing scientific reproducibility and productivity. The success of this relationship ensures that researchers are motivated to work within their institutional infrastructure and processes.

We hope you can join us at our 2019 Global Summit session, Strategies for Research Cybersecurity and Compliance from the Lab, on March 8 at 8:45 a.m. We’ll be providing an overview of the landscape of cybersecurity and compliance for research, along with pointers to resources and helpful means of engaging with researchers to build collaboration around securing research.