The FAQs below are a compilation of answers to commonly asked questions about the Analytics Enclave, "Enclave Platform", and serve as the first point of reference for prospective and current users of the Enclave Platform.
As a living publication, the content is updated as new or additional information become available.
Q1: What is the Enclave Platform?
The Enclave Platform is a centralized, highly secure, virtual one-stop analytics platform with strict access security. There is no direct access to the internet from inside the Enclave environment.
Q2: Who is the intended user of the Enclave Platform?
Any member of the Mass General Brigham's research/scientific community and their collaborators.
Q3: Is there a cost associated with the use of the Enclave Platform?
At present, the Mass General Brigham research community can access and use Enclave Platform at no cost. A fee is applied for use of the Enclave Platform by external collaborators. A chargeback process will be implemented in due course.
Q4: Are there any specific requirements for access and use of the Enclave Platform?
- Access and use of the Enclave Platform is subject to the completion and submission of the Access Request Form.
As a self-serve analytics platform, the effective use of the Enclave Platform requires users to have basic skills with statistical/analytics tools and the knowledge of the datasets of interest to be mostly self-supporting.
Q5: What are the benefits of the Enclave Platform?
|Portability||The Enclave Virtual Desktops and Apps are accessible anytime, anywhere, and on iOS, Android, and Chrome devices|
|Hardened Security||Advanced system hardening tools and best practices are deployed to reduce vulnerabilities and potential compromise of the Enclave Platform. Strict compliance oversight is maintained thus minimizing the likelihood of unauthorized access to data|
|Computational Reproducibility||The computational environment can be replicated and research results reproduced and/or shared seamlessly|
|Highly Scalable||Each project has adjustable storage space to accommodate different use cases|
|Dedicated Resources||The Enclave Virtual Desktops and resources therein are dedicated to each user and project|
|Remote-Friendly Collaboration Space||Supports secure and reliable cross-institutional collaboration (for example: MGB research community and external clinical industry partners) on MGB data marts or curated data sets|
|Customizable||Offers on-demand software delivery based on (individual or group) analytics needs|
|Secure Access to Data-Rich Repositories||For example: curated data sets, COVID-19 data marts, ECG data, and research project-associated databases|
Q1: How secure is the Enclave Platform?
The Enclave Platform has several layers of security.
You can only access the Enclave Platform from within the Mass General Brigham domain. Access to the Enclave Platform is controlled by Active Directory groups.
Thus, you can work with sensitive data and run applications within the Enclave environment without worrying about potential breach of integrity, confidentiality, or security. A description of the information security standards is available here.
Q1: How do I access the Enclave Platform to perform my research/data analysis?
You should first complete the Access Request Form.
Once your request is verified, the turnaround time for access is 1-3 business days provided your application has all the information required to provision your Enclave project workspace.
Upon approval of your request, (1) your Enclave Virtual Desktop will be provisioned, (2) you will be granted access to the requested data sources (if applicable), and (3) you will be provided with the specific information about access and use requirements.
Q2: Which operating systems do I need to use the Enclave Platform?
The Enclave Platform uses VMware Horizon to run and securely deliver the virtual desktops and apps.
The platform supports virtual machines running on Windows 10 or Ubuntu Linux and connects with devices running on Windows, Linux, or macOS operating systems while providing secure access for each operating system and streamlined desktop management.
Q3: What are the browser requirements for the Enclave Platform?
For best experience with VMware Horizon and the Enclave Platform, use the following browsers:
- Chrome (latest versions)
- Firefox (latest versions)
- Safari (latest versions)
- Microsoft Edge (Windows 10)
- Internet Explorer 11
The recommended practice is to allow automatic updates to the browser when a new version of the browser is available. This ensures that your device (desktop or laptop computer or tablet) is protected with the latest security update. Here's an example of Google Chrome Automatic Updates.
Q4: How would I typically use the Enclave Platform?
- You can use the Enclave Platform for analysis of your research data or data obtained from the RISC-managed COVID-19 data repositories or the complete PDSR curated data set. To do so, you must first complete the access request process. The form is available here.
- You can collaborate on a research project or several projects within the Enclave Platform. For each project, authorized team members can use the shared collaboration space to analyze data and create output files or reports all within the Enclave Platform.
Q5: Can I import files/data into the Enclave Platform?
All users can upload files or data from their endpoint devices into their project-assigned workspaces in the Enclave Platform. On completion of the analyses, the project’s PI, project lead or their designees can download the output files from the Enclave Platform to their endpoint (local) devices.
Q6: Can I export files/data from the Enclave Platform?
Only the project’s PI, project lead or their designees can download the files or data from the Enclave Platform to their endpoint (local) devices.
Q7: Which data analytics tools are available in the Enclave Platform?
In the Enclave Platform, there is a baseline offering of common data analytics software programs and applications such as MATLAB, R, RStudio, SAS, STATA, and development tools (GitLab, Python, IntelliJ IDEA, Java Development Kit, Java Runtime Analysis Toolkit).
The software programs and R repository packages are updated regularly. The in-platform repository contains popular packages such as CRAN, Bioconductor, and PyPI
You can customize your environment with additional software and packages. Please complete this form and submit your request.
Q8: What will happen to my project workspace and data at the end of the project or if I leave the project?
On completion of your project, all data files pertaining to the specific project in the individual user-level folders and group-level folder will be retained until the project's principal investigator or their authorized representative transfers the data to a MGB-authorized long-term storage area or archive outside the Enclave Platform.
We anticipate that the transfer of data to long-term storage or archiving will occur within six (6) months of completion of the project. Thereafter, the workspace will be deleted.
Q9: How do I provide feedback on my experience with the Enclave Platform?
Please complete and submit the Analytics Enclave Customer Feedback Survey.
In the Enclave Platform, each user has a dedicated workspace and only they can access and a project-specific shared collaboration area.
Each Enclave Virtual Desktop computer has a local computer drive, the C: Drive, and a personal network drive, the H: (Home) drive. The intended use is for storing only project-related files at the individual user-level.
The C: drive is best utilized for temporary storage of files or data that you are working on and should not be used for long term storage.
Use the H: Drive to store files that you wish to back up and/or access from different computers or devices if you are the only person working on or needing access to the files or data.
Whenever other members of the project need access to shared files or data, the use of the P: (Project) drive is recommended. The intended use is for storing shared project-related files.
- The P: Drive belongs to the team and not an individual member of the team i.e., the P: Drive is a collaboration space where project members can readily store, share, and analyze data.
- The project’s PI has complete control over access to the P: Drive at the folder-level via the Partners PAS system and oversight of shared data or files by their team.
Q1: How do I access the C: Drive, H: Drive, and/or P: Drive?
The C: drive, H: drive, and P: drive are automatically mapped and should be visible on your Enclave Virtual Desktop computer via the File Explorer and when saving or accessing files from within an application.
Remember: You should be connected to the MGB VPN to access your project-specific workspace in the Enclave Platform.
Q2: What are the advantages of storing my files/data on the H: Drive or P: Drive?
The H: and P: drives are network drives that are backed up daily.
The backup system provides a safeguard against accidental loss of data and offers an added level of protection against malware and other security risks.
Q1: How many people can use the Enclave Platform concurrently? How much storage space does each user have?
The Enclave Platform accommodates several users at the same time. A single security server can support a maximum of 2000 concurrent sessions or connections. The Analytics Enclave Team will work with you to determine how many workspaces are necessary for your research project.
Each user has access to a personal workspace and a data storage area. A shared project space is also available if multiple researchers are collaborating on the same project.
Each user’s personal workspace has a C: Drive and H: Drive with ~ 70 GB of combined available storage. However, the configuration can be modified to suit your data analytics needs.
Each project’s shared workspace has ~ 120 GB of storage. Additional storage can be provisioned upon request.
Q2: Can I use the Enclave Platform to collaborate on a project with another researcher within Mass General Brigham (MGB) or at another institution?
Collaborating on a research project is easy to do in the Enclave Platform environment. The project members can use the shared project-specific workspace, P: Drive, to analyze data and generate research outputs. Note that each user will access the shared data, create results reports, and other research outputs via their dedicated virtual desktop computer and with their MGB login credentials.
Q1: What kind of data is available via the Enclave Platform?
Microsoft SQL databases
Complete PDSR Curated Data Set
COVID-19 Data Mart
COVID-19 Vaccine Registry
COVID-19 Vaccine Self-Reported Symptoms Database
SQL scratch pad (project-specific databases)
Other Data Sources
COVID-19 Detailed Data Files (CSV Files)
ECG Data Files (Muse Files)
Q2: I have a question on the data repositories available via the Enclave Platform. Who should I contact?
Please complete and submit this form clearly outlining your specific data needs or interests.
Q1: I am an authorized user of the Enclave Platform and having trouble accessing my Enclave Virtual Desktop. What should I do?
At your first login, make sure to complete all steps outlined in HOW TO: Get Started With The Enclave Platform.
- Ensure that you have established a MGB VPN connection. Review the ServiceNow article on HOWTO: Install and Connect to VPN (KB0023967).
- Ensure that you are entering the correct Mass General Brigham (MGB) credentials (your username and password).
- Cross-check that you are using the recommended operating systems (Windows, MacOS or Linux) and supported browsers (preferably Google Chrome).
- Clear your browser’s cache before your next login attempt.
If you are still facing challenges with logging on to your Enclave Virtual Desktop computer, contact Analytics Enclave Support for assistance. In order to accurately capture the issue and document its resolution, complete and submit the Support Request Form.
Q2: I need assistance with the Enclave Platform. What should I do?
For troubleshooting or technical support, please complete and submit the Support Request Form.
We will review your message/report and provide you with an answer based on the initial assessment of your request or reported issue.
If the information we provide does not address the issue or answer your question, our support team will schedule a virtual meeting (MS Teams or Zoom) with you and/or your team for a live issue-review or troubleshooting session.
Q1: I have a feature request or suggestion. How do I submit it?
Please complete and submit this form to request a new feature/functionality or suggest modifications to existing features.