Share your data with colleagues
In a collaborative research project it is possible that a number of individuals may require access to the data, possibly with different privileges to read, write, update or delete.
How to collaborate on research data?
Is your data fit for sharing?
How and with whom you can share your data depends on the nature of your data. Does it include personal data, is it confidential or in any way restricted?
The University has developed a Policy on Categorising and Protecting University Information Assets (Word) that grades data and advises on storage and transfer of information. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the Policy, especially the four grades of the Grade Hierarchy:
- Personal Data
How can I share folders with research data?
If you want to share folders with research data with other Lancaster colleagues you need to request Research data storage. Find more about this in our storage guide. You can request that the storage folder can be shared with Lancaster colleagues.
If you need to share data with colleagues outside Lancaster we recommend using Box. Please also check our summary below to see which method of data transfer is adequate.
What is Box?
Box is Lancaster University’s solution for secure online storage. Box is an enterprise cloud storage solution that is available to all members of Lancaster University. Box uses high-grade encryption to secure data, both in transit and at rest. Box is certified by a number of external bodies as demonstrating secure practices and technologies and technologies and adheres to the adequate protection requirements of the EU Data Protection Directive.
Please note that the maximum size of a single file is 5GB. The total storage size is 1TB per user.
Can I use Box to store and share my working data?
Using Box is the preferred way to share data with colleagues in and outside of the University is. There are a number of ways that data can be shared with external parties using Box, and it is the data owner’s responsibility to ensure that this is done correctly and in accordance with the data type.
Box offers users the ability to share data with external users through unique links. These can (and should) be set to require a strong password (that should be communicated using an alternative method to how the link is sent, such as phone or text). Users can also specify how long the link is active for and whether the data can be download or simply viewed. The user access of the document uses high-grade transport encryption.
More information about how to use Box can be found on Lancaster Answers.
Summary: What can I use for secure information transfer?
There are a number of methods available for you to use - the choice of the transfer method would depend on the information classification (doc) and circumstances, such as whether is it paper based information, whether you want to transfer information between departments on campus (internally), or whether your department has any extra rules/regulations that you need to consider.
The table below (adapted from Lancaster Answers) summarises some possible transfer methods, depending on information classification:
|Information Classification||Sending externally||Sending internally|
How can I encrypt data with personal information and send it to a colleague at another university?
- The reconditions for sending personal data outside of campus would be to encrypt the files first and then use a service such as Lancaster’s BOX https://lancaster.app.box.com/ or ZendTo https://zendto.lancs.ac.uk/ to transfer.
- The only ‘recommended’ solution is the encryption of individual documents using the built in encryption of office products - http://lancasteranswers.lancs.ac.uk/portal/app/portlets/results/viewsolution.jsp?ismodal=true&solutionid=120607134718600&SToken=284B3FC460BEE3D4B5E439E3D72A4208 if it is just a document you are sending, then this encrypted file should be uploaded to one of the services above and then the password of the encrypted file should be communicated over a different channel such as phone, txt etc (but not email).
- If you need to send something other than an office document or a collection of files then ISS would advise using 7-ZIP http://www.7-zip.org/7z.html which can be set to use AES-256.