Research Data Security

The first step in developing a security strategy for your research is to know how your data are classified. Data classification, the process of categorizing data according to risk level, empowers you to select the right tools and services to protect your research.

WashU uses the categories Confidential Data, Controlled Unclassified Data (CUI), Protected Data, and Public Data for classifying data.

Each category is defined briefly below. Visit our data classification page and policy for a full discussion of data classification at WashU. For assistance in determining how your research data should be classified, please contact the Office of Information Security at

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Confidential Data

Confidential information is not subject to legal regulation, but it is not freely available to create, store, and transmit.

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Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) is a category of unclassified data that federal agencies create or possess…

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Protected Data

Protected data refers to data regulated by federal, state, and local legislation.

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Public Data

Public data may be shared openly and does not have regulatory or industry requirements on its control and use.