Saint Louis University

Secure Research Environment and FISMA

The Secure Research Environment is an enhanced cyber security network and server infrastructure for research with sensitive data (social security numbers, electronic health records, etc.)

This virtual, FISMA-compliant computing environment and infrastructure enables researchers to apply and effectively compete for grants and contracts requiring support for and adherence to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). It provides highly-secured computing-servers, database instances and data storage and ensures the protection of highly-sensitive research data created, used, or stored by the University's research departments. The Secure Research Environment includes monitoring/controlling processes and procedures that meet the baseline standards to satisfy FISMA Low and Moderate level compliance requirements as outlined in NIST 800-53.

The Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) requires a minimum set of security controls and protection of the sensitive data created, stored, or accessed by either the federal government or any entity on behalf of the federal government. Certain federal organizations - such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - might require researchers to abide by these FISMA regulations in their contracts and grants. Saint Louis University has a number of research contracts from various sources at any one time, representing a sizable financial funding source to the research community. As competition for future research funding increases, those universities with an existing FISMA compliance program can leverage that advantage into more contracts. Consequently, a failure to meet existing compliance requirements may result in contract termination and loss of contract funds.

For questions about the Secure Research Environment, please contact your grant administrators or email

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