Information safety

Research data are a specific and important type of information.

Information used in a research setting has to be reliable and of good quality (integrity); accessibility of data has to be based on authorization (confidentiality) and information has to be available fluently and according to the needs and expectations (availability). These three items make up information safety.

Risks like theft, loss, damage, and so on put pressure on research information systems. The technological advance also causes a lot of extra possible vulnerabilities in relation to data. Research often involves personal and/or sensitive data, causing extra demands in data processing.

Elements of data safety are included in the data management plan:

  • data minimalisation (only data necessary for the specific research purpose)
  • anonimisation of personal data (often mandatory)
  • safe storage strategy
  • safe usage strategy

In order to guarantee information safety at Ghent University a general vision was developed with risk control as key concept. A good balance between basic safety and feasibility, pragmatics, user-friendliness in an open information setting (productivity). An information safety adviser was appointed to shape and implement the plan of approach in the future.