Wednesday 10 March, 2021: Researchers can quickly create a cloud-based research environment that records data transactions and enhances cybersecurity, thanks to a simple script published by Food Agility CRC.
The script was written by a team working on a Food Agility CRC project, who turned challenge into opportunity when COVID hit and stranded researchers overseas. The researchers were dealing with commercially sensitive data and extra measures were needed to protect data security.
Running the script in the Amazon Web Services creates a virtual desktop where researchers can work on the data. It records all data transactions and can block data downloads and copies.
Professor David Lamb, Food Agility CRC Chief Scientist, said cybersecurity and data privacy were growing issues as the agrifood industry became more digitised and researchers handled more sensitive data.
“As a researcher, it’s a privilege to be able to work with Australia’s leading agrifood and technology companies, but with that comes a great responsibility to manage data in a secure way,” Professor Lamb said.
“In this case, the team came up with a simple, but effective solution that would allow the research to continue, while upholding strict standards of data management and cybersecurity.
“We’re open sourcing this because we want to help all Australian researchers and businesses, not just our own partners, establish operational frameworks that give participants confidence in the security and integrity of shared data - the cornerstone of collaboration.”
Chris Mendes, Chief Technology Officer at The Yield said the solution, created from generic scripting, was ‘innovation, rather than invention’ and a good option for researchers without access to a secure datacentre.
“These sorts of solutions are used in highly digitised industries like finance, but are relatively new to agriculture and research,” Mr Mendes said.
“This is a great example of how research collaborations involving technology partners can lift capabilities in other industries.”
The team comprised researchers from University Technology Sydney, and technologists from Australian agtech company The Yield. Together, they are developing new models and digital tools that help commercial growers to predict yield and time harvests.
The team will demonstrate the virtual research environment at the Food Agility Summit 2021 being held virtually over two afternoons on Monday 15& Tuesday March 16. They will show how it provides:
1) Secure remote login
2) A virtual workspace
3) Controlled access to data
4) Traceability of all data transactions
To access the script: https://github.com/Food-Agility-CRC/Research_workspace.git
To buy tickets to the Food Agility2021 Summit: https://thisspace.eventsair.com/food-agility-summit-2021