The Jill Dando Institute Research Laboratory (JDIRL) is a state-of-the-art secure computer facility, the first of its kind at a university in Europe
Developed as a joint venture between the UCL Department of Security and Crime Science and the UCL Department of Computer Science, it is accredited by London's Metropolitan Police force as a Police Assured Secure Facility for the storage of confidential data.
The JDIRL hosts confidential police data, and a range of other sensitive datasets, for the purposes of research and analysis. These include large datasets from the Metropolitan and other UK police forces, giving details of crime and policing at a disaggregate level, as well as commercially sensitive data from companies, provided for high profile research projects funded by UK Research Councils.
The JDIRL is a totally self-contained computer facility, unconnected to the outside world and has its own internal security system which controls physical access to the lab. By strictly controlling access to the lab's IT systems and by implementing strict security procedures, the lab provides the confidence and reassurance to data owners that their sensitive data is accessed only by those who need it.
JDIRL facilities and security
In two separate secure zones within the lab, JDIRL researchers are provided with the software tools and the hardware necessary to undertake research on large confidential data sets. There are both collaborative and private workspaces in the lab, which can be booked by anyone approved to work in the JDIRL.
All researchers, administration staff and supervisors are security vetted and trained to understand the special requirements of working in a high-security computer environment, prior to being given access to the JDIRL. Only when security vetting and training are complete are researchers given Photo ID cards and user accounts enabling them to access and work in the JDIRL.
All JDIRL workstations are virtual machines running on Dell thin clients, with dual screens, providing access to databases and computing hardware. The processing, storage and backup devices are contained in a third, secure inner zone, to which only JDIRL admin staff have access.