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Saving a Cognos Report with Personally Identifiable Information

Modified on: Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 11:33 AM


The purpose of this article is to describe the available methods of saving Cognos report output that contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to secure storage media. This document will provide an overview of these options and what is involved in the creation and maintenance of each method. Reports generated out of Cognos that contain PII can be saved directly from Cognos to the following storage locations:

  1. Cognos
  2. WFU Google Drive
  3. Windows Share Drive

Cognos report output containing PII returned to the user’s browser for online consumption does not need to use these methods. Only when the report output is saved are these secure locations to be used. As defined by the WFU IS Security Team (infosec@wfu.edu) the higher risk data items that must be reported if lost are:  "Personally identifiable information (PII) is defined as Social Security numbers (SSNs), HIPAA protected health information (PHI), student financial aid records, credit card information, and counseling information." The complete list of data elements that will ultimately be considered PII can be found here.

Cognos

The Cognos Content Store is used when you want to save the Report output within Cognos itself. The consumer of the report output would log onto Cognos and then navigate to the folder where the report output has been saved. When you run a Cognos report or have Cognos scheduled to run a report you can configure Cognos to save the report output within the Cognos tool itself. You can save multiple versions of the report output in the Cognos Content. Immediately after the executing of the Cognos report has completed, the report output is available for accessing. 

  • For Example, a Financial Aid report output would be saved to this location within Cognos: 
  • Public Folders > University Reports > Financial Aid > Funds 

Only data owner approved users would have access to all report output contained in this “Funds” folder. 

Security to the Cognos folder is maintained by the BI Team. The data owner will need to work with the BI Team to initially set this up. The BI Team performs a semi-annual review with the designated data owner, at which time this access will be reviewed to insure the access is still approved. The amount of storage used by saving reports to Cognos will be reviewed to maintain the performance of the Cognos environment. 

The user that needs to access the report output using this method does not require a Cognos license. A user that does not have a Cognos license can only view report output after logging into Cognos. Any user with a WFU network account can log into Cognos.

Google Drive

This method allows a Cognos report to be written to a centralized WFU Google Drive location. The consumer of the report output would log onto the WFU network and then navigate to the google drive folder where the report output has been saved. 

When you run a Cognos report or have Cognos scheduled to run a report you can configure Cognos to save the report output to the WFU Google Drive. You can save multiple versions of the report output on the Google Drive. After the running of the Cognos report has completed, the report output is available within 15 minutes. 

  • For Example, a Residence Life and Housing report output would be saved to this location on the WFU Google Drive: Rosters Only data owner approved users would have access to all report output contained in this “Rosters” folder. 

Security to the Google Drive folder is maintained by the Data Owner. The data owner will need to work with the BI Team to initially set this up. The initial Google drive folder has to be created and owned by the Cognos/BI Team userid. The designated Data owner will then be responsible for sharing and maintaining who has access to the report output in this Google Drive folder. The user that needs to access the report output using this method does not require a Cognos license.

Windows Share Drive

This method allows a Cognos report to be written to a centralized WFU windows share drive. The consumer of the report output would log onto the WFU network and then navigate to the windows share drive folder where the report output has been saved. 

When you run a Cognos report or have Cognos scheduled to run a report you can configure Cognos to save the report output to a Windows Share Drive. You can save multiple versions of the report output on the share Drive. After the running of the Cognos report has completed, the report output is available within 15 minutes.

  • For Example a Student report output would be saved to this location on the Windows Share Drive: \\admin2\Cognos\PROD\Student\StudentReports\End_User_Reports\English Only data owner approved users would have access to all report output contained in this “English” folder. 

Security to the windows share drive folder is maintained by the IS Windows Systems team. The data owner will need to work with the BI Team to initially set this up. The Windows share drive directory structure mirrors the Cognos Public Folders structure. After the initial setup, the designated Data owner will then work with the IS Windows Systems team via Remedy tickets to make any changes to who has access to all the report output saved to this location. The IS Windows System Team annually sends the designated data owner a listing of who has access to these share drive locations to insure the access is still approved. 

The user who needs to access the report output using this method does not require a Cognos license.


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