Protecting Your Restricted Data against Theft

The forced entry and attempted forced entry of offices in the Social Science Building earlier this month has raised concerns by researchers about the security of restricted data they store on their office computers. Researchers using restricted data may be held responsible if their computer is stolen from their office. In addition, a stolen computer that contains information that identifies sample members from studies must be reported to the IRB and the IRB is likely to require that all sample members whose information might have been released be notified. It is very important to know the terms of your data contract.

First and foremost, log off your computer when you leave, lock your office door, and use passwords wisely. Second, if the data contract allows, store your data on our network. For additional security, you may want to consider encrypting your hard drive. Contact our help desk if you would like to pursue this option and we will assist you.

There are downsides to data encryption. If your hard drive fails, you may lose your data. If you forget the password for the encrypted drive, you may lose your data. Encryption also slows down computers, especially older ones. We recommend you use encryption only if you need to store highly sensitive data on your hard drive.

Running Large SAS Jobs on Linstat

The new Linstat servers have all but eliminated the problem of disk-intensive SAS jobs slowing down the server for everyone. If you've been avoiding running such jobs on our Linux servers for fear of causing such a slowdown, we'd like to invite you back.

While newer and faster hardware always helps, the key to the improvement was giving the Linstat servers lots of RAM and then letting SAS use up to half of it (24GB) as its WORK library. This converts disk access tasks into memory access tasks, which are both faster and easier for the server to manage.

24GB is an enormous amount of space, but we know some of our members need more. If you're one of them, you need to read our Knowledge Base article Running Large SAS Jobs on Linstat. It will teach you how to speed up data-intensive programs, how to change SAS's WORK library to use local disk space rather than RAM (Linstat servers have 200GB of space in /tmp), when to submit your jobs to Condor, and more.

Please Log Off of Winstat When You're Done Using It

It's that time of the semester when Winstat usage peaks. Each open Winstat session requires a license, and these licenses are expensive. In a time of tight budgets, please help us keep our software costs as low as possible by logging out of your Winstat session when you're done using it so your license becomes available for someone else to use.