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Needs Assessment

Before submitting your grant application, please consider the following information regarding technology standards, supplied technology and support provided. Consult with the college Office of Research, the business/grant manager team as well as IT leadership before submission of your application if there is any technology being utilized for your grant, including computers for your grant employees or students.  

Upon approval of the grant and funding, an IT needs-assessment is recommended.  This will enable our IT to better understand the IT challenges and opportunities that the grant will be facing and to provide any feedback. If IT personnel will have measurable effort on the grant (more than 1% of staff time per year) beyond the services outlined, time and effort must be allocated to IT staff in the initial grant request. Services such as server administration, application and database support or administration are not part of standard services and thus must be accounted for in your budget and hiring decisions. 

Standard Technology

Each faculty and staff FTE at the college is issued a laptop or desktop workstation no older than three years. Each FTE is assigned a network account which provides them access to the enterprise resources, which include 5TB of cloud storage space in OneDrive as well as access to the Microsoft Office 365 suite, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft OneDrive. Other software is available to our faculty and staff based on need and request. Network printing is available throughout the college's building.

Grant Purchased Technology

In the event a grant recipient intends to purchase additional, non-standard technology (ex: tablets), the recipient has the option to manage, distribute, track, maintain inventory and ensure item return, or seek the assistance CON IT. However, if support from our IT is requested, additional costs will incur.  At the end of the grant, any equipment not retained by the participants would be returned to the university and become a USC Nursing owned device. At that point, IT becomes responsible for inventory, tracking, distribution and support.

Endpoint Security

All computers are equipped with Microsoft Windows Defender and Spirion, which protect users from threats as well as finds any sensitive information that may be stored on the workstations. Each workstation is also secured by Umbrella Roaming Client, which allows security and policy-based protection, including intelligent proxy, to be enforced no matter to which network you are connected. Workstations also have SecureConnector by Forescout installed, which helps to protect sensitive information, secure access to resources and demonstrate compliance through continuous monitoring and automated risk mitigation. Remote support is available through the installed Bomgar client. Bigfix client runs on each workstation to deliver updates, patches and fixes to machines. Every Windows workstation has whole disk encryption enabled by default through use of bitlocker technology.

Collaborative Platforms

The College of Nursing faculty and staff have several options available to them for the purposes of remote communications, meetings and interviews. Soft Codec video conferencing technology affords the researcher the opportunity to interview study participants who they may otherwise not be able to due to cost or distance restrictions, without the need for a conference bridge or special hardware. Two of the platforms available to researchers are Microsoft Teams and Zoom. The university has a signed BAA with Microsoft. This covers their storage platforms as well as the Microsoft Teams collaborative platform.

Data Storage

Research faculty have access to store regular data on a Windows server file share that is centrally managed and backed up at the university enterprise level. If data has phi they must utilize a secure/HIPAA eligible file storage environment such as FSx, provided by Amazon Web Services. The university's Division of IT (DoIT) has contracted with Amazon Web Services to provide academic units a secure HIPAA eligible file storage environment. The college utilizes this DOIT/AWS partnered service to store our research data. In addition to the HIPAA eligible service from AWS, the university has implemented additional measures to meet HIPAA compliance.  Each workstation that connects to the AWS FSx file share has whole disk encryption enabled through BitLocker, updated Windows 10 installed, as well as the standard security and endpoint management software on all university workstations. A workstation can only connect to our AWS FSx share from within a locked down subnet in the college or through a secure Virtual Desktop. The College of Nursing Technology Center maintains a robust inventory of workstations and users who have access to the secure file share. 

Required HIPAA training must be completed prior to gaining access for each user. In the event of needing to access files on the research file storage option from an off-site location, a second laptop or workstation that is provisioned by the college's IT department will be required.

There may be other requirements, training or technology needed to store and access PHI. Other data storage options may be available and should be budgeted in your grant.  

HIPAA training and compliance is required for all users who access the college's research data server. Review and sign the following required training forms:

Typical cost is $0.13 per GB of space needed (HDD tier). Please discuss your data needs with the college's IT leadership during initial phases of planning. 

Network Infrastructure

The College of Nursing utilizes a robust network infrastructure and Microsoft Active Directory, which is provisioned and managed by DoIT. All faculty members have direct access to this network on campus and access remotely through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Duo Mobile, multifactor authentication is also required to access the majority of online resources. Secure Wi-Fi is available throughout the Columbia campus.

Efax Services are recommended for grants that require secure faxing. These services typically require a paid subscription and should be included in your funding request.

Division of Information Technology (DoIT)

The Division of Information Technology (DoIT), under the direction of the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, provides strategic leadership for information technology, instructional services, e-learning, and research computing at  the university to support its mission and meet the needs of the faculty, staff, and students. DoIT serves the university community through diverse services such as computing, telecommunications, networking, data security, video transport, information technology training, web services, customer support, desktop and server support, installation and maintenance of IT infrastructure, policies and procedures, PC labs, software licensing and distribution, IT planning, partnerships, applications development and support and operational systems.



REDCap is a self-service tool available for surveys as well as data acquisition, capture, and management, and is provided to any approved user in the HSSC collaborative. The survey tool allows for various survey scenarios, including conditional logic, data uploads, and advanced formatting. All data are stored on a secure server and can be exported to formats useful to researchers for statistical analysis.

Access to REDCap is provisioned by Health Sciences SC. 

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