Objective We describe use cases and an institutional reference architecture for maintaining high-capacity, data-intensive network flows (e.g., 10, 40, 100 Gbps+) in a scientific, medical context while still adhering to security and privacy laws and regulations.
Materials and Methods High-end networking, packet filter firewalls, network intrusion detection systems.
Results We describe a “Medical Science DMZ” concept as an option for secure, high-volume transport of large, sensitive data sets between research institutions over national research networks.
Discussion The exponentially increasing amounts of “omics” data, the rapid increase of high-quality imaging, and other rapidly growing clinical data sets have resulted in the rise of biomedical research “big data.” The storage, analysis, and network resources required to process these data and integrate them into patient diagnoses and treatments have grown to scales that strain the capabilities of academic health centers. Some data are not generated locally and cannot be sustained locally, and shared data repositories such as those provided by the National Library of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute, and international partners such as the European Bioinformatics Institute are rapidly growing. The ability to store and compute using these data must therefore be addressed by a combination of local, national, and industry resources that exchange large data sets. Maintaining data-intensive flows that comply with HIPAA and other regulations presents a new challenge for biomedical research. Recognizing this, we describe a strategy that marries performance and security by borrowing from and redefining the concept of a “Science DMZ”—a framework that is used in physical sciences and engineering research to manage high-capacity data flows.
Conclusion By implementing a Medical Science DMZ architecture, biomedical researchers can leverage the scale provided by high-performance computer and cloud storage facilities and national high-speed research networks while preserving privacy and meeting regulatory requirements.