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Guide to remote research

Advice on remote research for staff, Masters by Research students, and doctoral researchers. Covers finding and accessing literature, data collection, and data security.

General advice

Whilst working from home please ensure that:

You use a secure internet connection, such as your home internet connection.
If possible you use a device to which only you have access and that the device is password protected.
If this is not possible, ensure that you have a password protected account on any shared device you use.
Your home PC is password protected, the firewall is turned on, and anti-virus software is installed.
Personal data and confidential information is not accessible to other members of your household.
Equipment such as phones, laptops and USB sticks are kept securely.
Physical data is securely stored.

 

JISC have some useful guidance on security settings when using collaborative tools.

 

Report any data security breaches immediately to the IT Service Desk 

 

Research in the NHS

For NHS related research please see the HRA Guidance about COVID-19 for sponsors, sites and researchers.

Using the Research Store (Q Drive)

University policy states that research data must be kept on the Research Store, sometimes referred to as the Q drive.

If you have a data sharing agreement please discuss security issues with your partner(s), particularly where the agreement means that data is stored on their servers.

University cloud storage policy states:

Do not use cloud storage to store files containing information about individuals or other sensitive information that you should not keep sensitive data on a cloud service such as OneDrive or Google Drive.

‚ÄčThis policy applies to both personal accounts and your staff / student Google and Office 365 accounts.


How to use the Research Store from home

You can still place data on the Research Store when you are off campus, following the instructions below:

Staff

You have two options:

  1. you can use the Remote Desktop to connect to your university drives. 
  2. you can use the VPN- please visit this page for instructions on updating the VPN (and other software) on your SHU laptop.

In both cases the Research Store will be listed as StudentSharedDrive. Your folder(s) will be in the Research folder.

Doctoral researchers or staff using the Research Store (use MyFiles)

If you cannot use the Remote Desktop, you can use MyFiles. The Research Store will be listed as Student&ResearchSharedDrive. Your folder(s) will be in the Research folder.

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To get a file from the Research Store use the ‘Download’ option. To put a file on the Research Store use the ‘Upload’ option.

As you will be creating copies of files on your own device be sure either to delete or encrypt these copies (please see below on how to encrypt your files).

On return to campus based working DTS will work with you to ensure that any temporary files are properly deleted from any device you have used.

How to request space on the Research Store

If you have a new request for a folder on the Research Store:

  • If you are a researcher or doctoral student attached to a Research Centre / Institute please email your Research Store Custodian to arrange project space and access. If external access is required, this must also be approved by the custodians. Include the external person’s name and email address in the request.
     
  • If you are a doctoral researcher not attached to a Research Centre / Institute, please ask your Director of Studies to request a folder on the SHU Research Store for you. They should contact the IT Service Desk
     
  • If you are not attached to a Research Centre / Institute or your research centre / institute has no custodian, then please contact the IT Service Desk. Indicate where you are based, and who should have access. If you need one or more sub folders with tighter access restrictions, for example to deal with confidential materials that not all project members should be able to access, then this can be included in your request.

Encryption and transferring data

Encrypting files

Sensitive information should be encrypted if it is not being stored on the Research Store; this may be because you have data on a device and cannot transfer it to the Research Store.

DTS have  a page offering detailed guidance on encrypting files 

Transferring files

If you need to send files to yourself or colleagues, please use https://zendto.shu.ac.uk This sends a secure download link to your colleague. For additional security you can create a password which your colleague will need to enter before they download the file.

You can also email an encrypted file but bear in mind some services may limit the size of file which can be sent or received.