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Research Institute at University Hospital Basel protects sensitive research data Secure end-to-end encryption guarantees maximum data security

International clinical studies with a science-critical focus, such as early detection of coronary heart disease or rapid and accurate diagnosis of cardiac syncope – in these fields, the Cardiovascular Research Institute at University Hospital Basel (CRIB) is one of the leading research institutes worldwide. The secure exchange of as yet unpublished study data and confidential manuscripts is an important part of the process. For this purpose, CRIB uses an intuitive end-to-end encryption solution from data security specialist Tresorit.

Exchanging sensitive research data with internal and external cooperation partners from all over the world is part of everyday life at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at University Hospital Basel (CRIB). That’s why it is important for CRIB to send the research group’s data, analyses and joint paper drafts securely and efficiently. An uncomplicated and secure setup is one of CRIB’s key IT and digitization strategies. In particular, intuitive operation and integration into typical daily workflows play a major role – after all, not every medical professional is also an IT security expert.

Research Institute at University Hospital Basel

Background and challenges

Data exchange with obstacles
This is precisely why there was a variety of creative IT solutions among the cooperation partners within the research group: from exchanging non-sensitive data by e-mail to sending individually encrypted ZIP archives to sharing data internally on the university hospital’s network drive. All of these methods served their purpose. However, they resulted in a hodgepodge of tools and procedures that made efficient collaboration much more difficult. This became apparent as soon as an employee had to be replaced. It was often difficult for new staff members to understand exactly how the process of the study had to be carried out.

In addition, problems repeatedly arose when viewing the shared files – for example, not every end device automatically has access to the hospital’s internal network drive. Problems were also encountered whenever the cooperation partners were unable to install the necessary tools for decrypting or unpacking ZIP archives on their business end devices. Very often, the strict security guidelines stood in the way. For all these reasons, in spring 2018, the hospital’s IT and digitization experts considered how they could improve the information exchange in projects such as these. What was needed was a standardized, secure method that every cooperation partner could use easily and master without much training, while maximizing the security of the documents.

« Due to recent security incidents and major data breaches that had made waves in the media, our research group leader was already sensitized to the issue. »

Dr Tobias Zimmermann, physician and research associate at the Cardiovascular Research Institute

The solution

A secure and simple solution for all
Ideally, the future solution needed to be a cloud-based system that all cooperation partners could use simply on their computers. A key criterion was seamless end-to-end encryption, because with this type of encryption, even the provider itself has no access to the keys. This is the only way to ensure data confidentiality at all times. CRIB opted for the highly secure platform from data security specialist Tresorit. The platform boasts secure and simple end-to-end encryption and zero-knowledge principles. The solution is visually appealing, intuitive, easy to use and also offers an alternative usage option via web interface. This means that files can be shared without installing any software.

Secure data exchange in practice
To ensure that data exchange with the data security specialist Tresorit also functions smoothly in practice, the software was put through its paces. This showed that the software harmonizes very well with the IT guidelines and works on all computers. On some external computers, strict partner-specific authorization barriers prevented the software from being installed. In other cases, the Tresorit link was blocked by the clinic system. In conjunction with the cooperation partners, however, solutions to all problems were found step by step.

« Tresorit has a very good reputation in the industry, which we’ve been able to confirm through conversations with clientele and healthcare partners. »

Dr Tobias Zimmermann, physician and research associate at the Cardiovascular Research Institute

Features and benefits

Access to the highest security standards

  • With the data security specialist Tresorit, CRIB has access to a highly secure data exchange solution that uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure the highest level of protection for sensitive data.
  • At the same time, no effort is required from the team when it comes to creating, managing or exchanging digital keys for encryption and decryption. The Tresorit solution takes care of all this almost unnoticed in the background.
  • Simple, secure usability through the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). This provides all partners with the highest level of protection without requiring them to be IT or security experts.

Full control over sensitive documents

  • Create separate users, ensuring that each user can view and edit only the data in which they are actively involved.
  • Detailed access logs keep the team in control of the shared data and enable them to immediately revoke granted approvals at any time, as needed.

Optimize time and costs

  • Easy, secure data exchange minimizes and optimizes time, resources and costs.


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