Who is Secure Research Computing?

Secure Research Computing is a small team of specialists that develop, support and maintain secure research computing resources for the campus.  This group is available to connect you with and field questions you may have regarding various existing campus solutions supporting research that falls under various compliance data protection regulations. We work in close partnership with many campus services including the Office of Information Technology's Information Security, the Office of Export Controlsthe Center for National Security Initiatives and many others.

For general inquiries you can email the team at rc-help@colorado.edu and specify "Secure Research Computing" in the subject line.

What is The Preserve?

The Preserve is an environment available to researchers who engage in projects that contain confidential or highly confidential data.  It is highly controlled to specifically protect research that must eventually meet Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 Level 2, Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and certain Export Control regulations.  This environment includes the following core services.  

  • Microsoft Office 365 GCC High is a secure cloud-based suite of solutions that includes Exchange Online as the email and calendaring environment, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Teams.  These may be used for collaboration on research proposals and projects both internally and with trusted sponsors or collaborators.  
  • The CU Secure Research Computing environment hosted in Azure Government includes a highly secure landing zone and environment that researchers may use to develop and run infrastructure and applications for their protected research projects. 

Who Can Get It?

Any researcher or research support staff who work with confidential or highly confidential data can request access to the environment, however given that the environment is designed for CUI and Export controlled projects,  all users of the environment will need to consider the costs of O365 licenses and Azure government computing reseources and must adhere to stringent policies, standards and procedures required to protect it.   See CUI Policy. 

⚠️ Required Reading for The Preserve

There are several standards and procedures that users of the environment must be familiar with in order to perform their job functions there.  Department Managers and Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring these documents are reviewed and followed. Please see The Preserve's sharepoint landing page and the section called "⚠️ Required Review for Users of The Preserve" for an extensive list of required reading. 


  • Approval from the Office of Export Control of eligibility if applicable.  
  • Procurement of a managed Dedicated Desktop Support (DDS) issued system (faculty, staff) approved for use with this environment or access to a Windows Virtual Desktop in the environment using a system meeting these minimum requirements. 
  • Approval to use an existing Microsoft Office 365 GCC High Licenses or funding to purchase a new one (~$900/year). 
  • Completion of the university CUI training and review of university CUI policy. 
  • For a more extensive list of required reading see The Preserve's sharepoint landing page and the section called ⚠️ Required Review for Users of The Preserve. 

How To Request Access

A Principal Investigator (PI) or Research Administrator who already has access to the environment, can initiate a request for access on a team member's behalf.  See this process for more details. 

A department leader or Principal Investigator with existing access must be logged into the Preserve to access the online form on behalf of a Staff Member, Faculty Member or Student assisting with research who have a need for access based on criteria defined above.  If you do not have a department leader or Principal Investigator who is already in The Preserve, email this paper form to help@research.cu.edu to request access.

To request external user access, please navigate to The Preserve for instructions.


Once access is approved please complete the following. You will be contacted with instructions for onboarding by a member of our support staff.   

1. Follow instructions here to access the Self-service Software feature on your Mac or WIndows machine.

2. Search for “Microsoft Remote Desktop” and double click to install. 

3. (Optional) To use the Microsoft Authenticator Application instead of a text code see Office 365 Multi-Factor Authentication - Register and Use Microsoft Authenticator App.