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Case study: Genomics England

Taking Managed File Transfer to another level to secure genome data for vital research

Genomics England needed to speed up their complex approval system, enabling researchers to carry out ground breaking medical research within strict security protocols. They knew automation via Managed File Transfer (MFT) could be the answer. With requirements well beyond the scope of standard MFT, they turned to Pro2col for help.

Background

​ Owned by the Department of Health, Genomics England was set up to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project. This flagship initiative sequenced over 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients with rare diseases and their families, as well as patients with qualifying cancers. The primary aim was to establish the use of whole genome sequencing in routine healthcare within the NHS. The resulting dataset enables new scientific discovery and insights, whilst kick-starting the UK genomics industry.

Genomics England holds genomic and clinical data in a tightly controlled research environment, which authorised analysts and researchers can access for their research. The data is anonymised, but there are still extremely tight consent models to ensure absolute security and integrity at all times.

A unique requirement

Genomics England previously used a manual File Transfer Protocol (FTP) process. The team would airlock incoming requests whilst they were checked and verified, then gather additional information via email from the end user. Once approved, they’d notify the infrastructure team to transfer the files into the designated environment.

“We needed to bring as much automation in as possible in order to reduce the wait time for the researchers and create more of a self-serve system,” states Genomics England’s Research Environment Project Manager, Andy Paynton. “However, this had to be measured against an absolute necessity for any process to remain secure and in complete compliance with our strict approval and airlock policies. It also needed to be totally auditable and allow us to maintain a record of everything being transferred in and out of the research environment.”

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