This report provides a guide on setting up a Secure Remote Connection between two Trusted Research Environments (TREs). It is based on the experiences of setting up such a connection between the UKDS SecureLab and other TREs, and most recently and specifically between the UKDS SecureLab and the Secure Data Centre at GESIS within the SSHOC project, WP5.4. It is designed to aid future setups of remote connections between TREs, a need which increasingly arises in the fast-changing secure data landscape, and a necessary step to improving the international data infrastructure to facilitate evidence- based, global, policy-relevant, impactful research.
As a result of the collaborative work undertaken within the SSHOC Deliverable D5.11, for the first time, controlled2 GESIS data will be made available to researchers outside of Germany, via the GESIS access point at the UK Data Service Safe Room at the UKDA, University of Essex. Further, researchers will be able to access selected UKDS SecureLab data through GESIS’ Secure Data Center Safe Room in Cologne.
Setting up a Secure Remote Connection between the UKDS SecureLab and the Secure Data Centre at GESIS within the SSHOC project faced considerable challenges due to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 and its implications for the next two years. However, the goals of this deliverable were achieved in the end. Further, a staggered return to the offices and Safe Room openings are in sight and so, even though the SSHOC project itself comes to an end, work on and around the access points, generating use cases, improving workflows etc. will continue.
The report describes the different areas of work, tasks, and aspects that have to be addressed and taken into consideration ahead of and during the setting up of a Secure Remote Connection between two TREs. It is anticipated that this report will provide a blueprint for setting up further remote connections. The details might differ from case to case, but the steps described here are fundamental and must be addressed when setting up a Secure Remote Connection between two TREs.