November 3, 2021
This document serves as the first point of reference for prospective and current users of the Enclave Platform. As a living publication, it is updated as new or additional information become available.
If you would like to learn more about the Enclave Platform, please contact the Analytics Enclave Team at AnalyticsEnclave@partners.org.
Table of Contents
- About the Analytics Enclave, the “Enclave Platform”
- Using the Enclave Platform
- How do I access the Enclave Platform to do my research/data analysis?
- How would I typically use the Enclave Platform?
- Can I import outside files or data into the Enclave Platform?
- Can I export files or data from Enclave Platform?
- What data analytics tools are available for use in the Enclave Platform? How often are they updated?
- What operating system do I need to use the Enclave Platform?
- What are the browsers requirements for the Enclave Platform?
- I am an authorized user and have trouble logging into the Enclave Platform. What should I do?
- Storing Files or Data in the Enclave Platform
- Collaborating within the Enclave Platform
- Consultation and Troubleshooting Services
About the Analytics Enclave, the “Enclave Platform”
➤ What is the Enclave Platform?
The Enclave Platform is a centralized, highly secure, virtual one-stop platform with strict data security requirements that you can use to remotely access data, perform data analysis, machine learning, or AI, and collaborate on sensitive, confidential data in a project-specific remote desktop workspace.
➤ What are the benefits of using the Enclave Platform?
Portable: The Enclave Virtual Desktops and Apps are accessible anytime, anywhere, and on iOS, Android, and Chrome devices.
Secure: The controlled and protected environment offers authorized users a dedicated, centralized, safe, and secure space for collaboration on highly confidential or sensitive data. In this way, the 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 can be shared or reproduced seamlessly.
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 or curated data marts.
Customizable: Offers on-demand software delivery based on your analytics needs.
Facilitates forecasting and planning: Enhances predictability of the timeframe required to complete your analysis based on available resources.
Sensitive data repository: Currently, the Enclave platform hosts several data-rich COVID-19 marts and project-associated databases.
➤ How secure is the Enclave Platform?
You can only access the Enclave Platform from within the MGB domain. Access to the Enclave Platform is controlled by Active Directory groups.
You can work with sensitive data and run applications within the Enclave Platform without worrying about potential integrity, confidentiality, or security breaches.
A description of the information security standards is available here.
➤ Is there a cost associated with the use the Enclave Platform?
At present, the MGB 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.
Using the Enclave Platform
➤ How do I access the Enclave Platform to do 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 workspace. Upon approval of your request, you will be granted access to the requested data sources and provided with the Enclave Platform access and use information.
➤ How would I typically use the Enclave Platform?
1. You can use the Enclave Platform for analysis of your research data or data obtained from the RISC-managed COVID-19 databases. To do so, you must first complete the access request process. The form is available here.
2. You can collaborate on a research project or several projects within the Analytics Enclave environment. For each project, authorized team members can use the virtual shared workspace (P: Drive) to analyze data and create reports within the Enclave Platform.
➤ Can I import outside files or data into the Enclave Platform?
Yes. 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.
➤ Can I export files or data from 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.
➤ What data analytics tools are available for use in the Enclave Platform? How often are they updated?
In the Enclave Platform, there is a baseline offering of common data analytics software programs and applications such as MATLAB, RStudio, SAS, SPSS, 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 (including a CRAN mirror) contains most used packages.
You can customize your environment with additional software. Please contact the Enclave Platform Support (AnalyticsEnclaveSupport@partners.org) for assistance.
➤ What operating system 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 and connects with devices running Windows, Linux, or MacOS while providing secure access for each operating system and efficient desktop management.
➤ What are the browsers 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.
➤ I am an authorized user and have trouble logging into the Enclave Platform. 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 the Mass General Brigham (MGB) credentials (username and password) before trying to connect to the Enclave platform.
- Ensure that you have established a MGB VPN connection. Review the ServiceNow article on HOWTO: Connect to VPN (KB0023967).
- Ensure that you have sufficient disk space to install the VMware Horizon VDI software (for example: The file size of the 2013 version of VMware Horizon Client for macOS is 54.65 MB and 238.57 MB for Windows).
- Use 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 in to your Enclave Virtual Desktop computer, please contact Analytics Enclave Support at AnalyticsEnclaveSupport@partners.org for assistance.
Storing Files or Data in the Enclave Platform
In the Enclave Platform, each user has a dedicated workspace and only they can access it. 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 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.
➤ How do I access the C: drive, H: drive, or P: Drive?
The C: drive, H: drive, and P: drive are automatically mapped and should be visible on your Enclave Virtual Desktop computer and when saving or accessing files from within an application. Remember: You should be connected to the MGB VPN to access your workspace in the Enclave Platform.
➤ What are the advantages of storing my files 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.
➤ What kind of data is hosted in the Enclave Platform?
Microsoft SQL databases
- COVID-19 Data Mart
- COVID-19 Vaccine Registry
- COVID-19 Vaccine Self-Reported Symptoms Database
- SQL scratch pad (project-specific databases)
- COVID-19 Detailed Data Files
- ECG Data Files
Collaborating within the Enclave Platform
➤ How many people can use the Enclave Platform concurrently? How much workspace 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 110 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.
➤ Can I use the Enclave Platform to collaborate on a project with another researcher within MGB or at another institution?
Yes. 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.
Consultation and Troubleshooting Services
➤ I need technical assistance with the Enclave Platform. What should I do?
For troubleshooting or technical support, email the Analytics Enclave Team at AnalyticsEnclaveSupport@partners.org. A ServiceNow ticket will be automatically generated for you.
We will review your message 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 or your team for a live discussion or troubleshooting session.
➤ I have a feature request or suggestion. How do I submit it?
The Analytics Enclave Team welcomes your suggestions and feedback. Please complete the Analytics Enclave Customer Feedback Survey or send an email with your request to AnalyticsEnclaveSupport@partners.org.
➤ I have a question on the COVID-19 data hosted in the Enclave Platform. Who should I contact?
For assistance with questions related to the RISC-owned or managed databases, please write to MGBCOVIDRESEARCHREQUEST@partners.org.