Data security plan

Data security plan

Researchers proposing the use of linked data must develop and implement to protect the personal information and the privacy of the people whose information they are using. It is essential that the security plan is commensurate with the level of risk associated with the proposal and the likelihood of this harm eventuating.

The security plan should specify the measures taken to ensure the security of information collected for, used in, or generated by this project from misuse, loss or unauthorised access during and after the research project.

A data security plan must:

  • acknowledge all potential risks to participants and their data, and ensure that adequate steps are detailed to minimize and manage those risks.
  • identify the type of data, its level of risk and the measures proposed to manage the privacy risks at every stage of the research project.
  • address elements including -
    Personnel security controls:
     this includes limiting access to only those people assessed to be suitable and whose work responsibilities specifically require them to access these resources.
    Administrative Security Controls: consists of approved written policies, procedures, standards, guidelines, security training, risk assessments and external reviews.  
    Protection of identity: such as the separation of identifying information and content information and statistical disclosure control in publication of results.
    Physical security: physical barriers should be in place to prevent access by unauthorised people.
    Technological Security: this includes password protection, encryption, firewalls, secure remote access laboratories and the use of stand-alone computers.

    Secure Retention and Disposal: transparent and secure arrangements should be made for the retention and final destruction of the data after the project is complete. This is covered in more detail under Data retention and disposal.

Useful resources