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We facilitate the use of sensitive data in research

Our sensitive data services enable researchers to use sensitive data in all stages of research easily and securely.

New opportunities for research

Sensitive data is one of the most important themes in data management and one of CSC’s focus areas. While the use of sensitive data, such as people’s health records or ecological data, opens up completely new doors for research, access to data must be carefully controlled, and data security must not be compromised at any stage.

Our Sensitive Data (SD) services support the work of researchers at higher education institutions and research institutes by providing a secure way of using sensitive data at all stages of research with maximum ease and scalability. The platform we use is CSC’s ePouta cloud service. Our services are as interoperable as possible with other international services.

Our SD services enable comprehensive data management, both during and after the research project. Thanks to our services, research results can be published openly, even when based on sensitive data. Access control also makes it possible to share the actual data with other authorized researchers.

Benefits for many sectors

We offer a ready-made solution for the research use of sensitive data. Our SD services rely on existing capacity, reducing infrastructure costs. This makes it easy and cost-effective to use sensitive data.

Both science and our society can benefit in many ways from the use of sensitive data. For example, health and patient data can help researchers understand the spread of diseases and the risk factors associated with them, as well as develop better treatment methods. Economists can use sensitive data for purposes such as investigating pay gaps, discrimination in the labor market, or economic inequalities. 

Tailored solutions

CSC has long experience of tailoring sensitive data solutions for organization clients.

The Kapseli solution tailored for Findata, which is the data permit authority in the social and health sector, was introduced in 2022. It enables secure processing of sensitive data subject to a Findata permit. The remote access environment of Kapseli and its extensions have security certification.

CSC maintains and develops Statistics Finland’s remote access system Fiona, which is the organization’s secure processing environment for unit-level data needed in research, including Statistics Finland’s micro data.

We have also developed sensitive data management services for other organizations.

International cooperation

We work closely together with several international actors to ensure that our services are as transparent and interoperable with other services as possible. Our key partners include the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC), European Genome-Phenome Archive (EGA) and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG).

This cooperation helps us build up both our own and the Finnish scientific community’s expertise relating to infrastructures and services required for sensitive data. We can also influence international standardization through, for example, the Global Alliance.

What is sensitive data?

Sensitive data refers to any data that must be protected against unauthorized access.

Protecting the data may be necessary

  • for legal or ethical reasons
  • for privacy reasons, oryvistä syistä
  • for proprietary reasons.

Sensitive data include:

  • personal data, such as health, genetic and individual data
  • ecological data, including locations of endangered species or conservation measures
  • confidential data, including business secrets
  • data that is regarded as sensitive for some other reason.

The use of sensitive data in research is always subject to a permit, and personal data use is governed by law. The use of sensitive personal data is regulated by such legislation as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Act, as well as national statutes, including the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Secondary Use of Health and Social Data (the Secondary Use Act).

Contact information


Ilkka Lappalainen

Director, Sensitive Research Data Services

Ilkka Lappalainen is responsible for digital services for sensitive research data management.

+358 50 3818525


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