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  • DEPT OR DIVISION: ITS Research Computing
  • PROJECT OWNER:  John McGee
  • PROJECT MANAGER:  Alison Campbell
  • CHANGE MANAGER:  Jackie Treschl
  • STATUS: In Progress
  • Project Theme: Serving Our Communities

What is it?

The Secure Research Workspace is a secure virtual desktop for collaboration and storing sensitive information related to research studies, like patient or clinical trial data. The goal of this project is to establish a re-imagined and successful version of the Secure Research Workspace (SRW).

The project will include a 3rd party assessment of the existing platform, a new infrastructure design, as well as a new compliance package, and 3rd party assessment of the new platform. The

The new version of SRW will enhance and modernize UNC’s ability to support researchers in their use of regulated data with environments that meet or exceed compliance specifications including NIST 800-171 and NIST 800-53.

Why are we doing it?

The ITS Research Computing team currently creates and customizes on-premises SRW environments tailored to the specific requirements of each research team. However, this process is time-consuming, resource-intensive, and maintaining compliance is increasingly challenging.

The new SRW environments will be cloud-based, focusing on out-of-the-box solutions that meet current customer requirements while being flexible and scalable to accommodate future research and compliance needs.

How does this impact our UNC community?

Faculty, Staff, Student Researchers

UNC Researchers will have access to new, secure, and compliant environments to conduct research and collaborate both within the UNC community and with external researchers.

When is this happening?

Task 1: Conduct a pilot with partners to determine the viability of the proposed solution. Completed May 2023

Task 2: Conduct a third-party assessment of the existing SRW platform to provide ongoing compliant environments while the new system is under development. Currently underway.

Task 3: Reimagine the infrastructure, design, automation, and end-user capabilities for a new cloud-based SRW. This work will be a collaboration between the ITS Research Computing team, ITS Infrastructure & Operations (I&O), and Data & Reporting Environments & Application Middleware (DREAM) team, along with multiple vendors. Currently underway.

Task 4: Develop the NIST 800-53 compliance package documentation as an integral component of ongoing management and maintenance of the new platform