IT security

RDS follows the Data Linkage Framework Guiding Principles and has adopted the best attributes of other services provided internationally. This approach resulted in a service focused on data security and confidentiality consisting of:

  • Secure public sector data provisioning and backup delivered through state-of-the-art secure public sector data technology.
  • Robust information governance procedures based on approved researchers, safe haven users and organisations. Balancing public sector data protection and privacy to support research which benefits the public.
  • Secure File Transfer Protocols to support the transmission of public sector data between public sector data providers and the Safe Haven. 
  • Anonymisation separation of roles and robust indexing procedures are designed to minimise risks of breaching individuals' privacy when using confidential, sensitive data. Personal identifiers are kept separate from the attribute/content data.
  • Data linkages created and maintained using rigorous, internationally accepted privacy preserving protocols, direct or probabilistic matching, with clerical review available where required to increase matching accuracy where required. Any public sector data can be requested for ethically approved research, planning and evaluation projects which aim to benefit the public in Scotland. Completion of missing data to improve quality and allow linkage between datasets can also be provided.
  • Secure environments (Safe Haven) for researchers to analyse anonymised individual level or summarised records. Safe Haven access is provided either at Nine, Edinburgh Bioquarter or via remote access, where appropriate.
  • Confidentiality is achieved through restricted access to securely stored confidential data. We use statistical disclosure control methods on statistical outputs, such as graphics, tables or regression analyses, prior to release to ensure disclosure agreements are supported. 

These measures aim to ensure data providers are confident of the security of their data. More detailed information can be obtained from your Research Co-ordinator.