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A stylised image of a padlock against a dark blue background depicting 'data security'

The Dementias Platform UK Data Portal brings together data from around 3 million people who take part in medical research via population and clinical cohort studies.

Built to an international information security standard, the Data Portal ensures that every participant's data is stored securely while also enabling bona fide researchers to access the information they need to advance our understanding of dementia and other conditions.

The Data Portal's security features include:

  • It is part of the UK Secure eResearch Platform (UKSeRP) based at Swansea University. UKSeRP conforms to the ISO:27001 'kite mark', a standard for information security. It is pan-government accredited and approved by NHS Digital to host data.
  • Data is anonymised. UKSeRP uses international best practice to de-identify people's data.
  • The Data Portal provides access to data using a virtual desktop infrastructure, meaning there is no physical transfer of data to researchers – while still being accessible worldwide.
  • The virtual desktop is opened and accessed in VMware using two-factor authentication. This is an extra step of security to ensure only users with permitted accounts are able to connect to the infrastructure hosting cohort data.
  • Raw data files provided are not permitted to be removed from the remote desktop, ensuring that data ownership remains with the organisation – such as those running the population study, or the data provider – at all times. Results, outputs and derived data are permitted to be removed for peer review and publishing.

Researchers can learn more about the Data Portal's virtual desktop infrastructure on the Data Portal website.

Further information

We know how important data security is, whether you're taking part in health research or tasked with keeping others' information safe. If you wish to find out more, or ask additional questions about how we keep sensitive data secure, we would be happy to provide further information. Please email us at dpuk@psych.ox.ac.uk.