Survey Security

Run surveys and data collection workflows securely and keep responses confidential with SurveyCTO. No matter where you collect data, we promise to provide tight security for your projects. Our industry-leading security includes SOC-2 certification and GDPR compliance for our platform, plus a wide array of sophisticated options that allow users to implement security measures that meet the unique needs of their organization, and the people it serves.

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Secure Survey Software for Mobile Data Collection

At SurveyCTO, data security is more than a feature or service: It’s a guiding principle that’s been driving us since our inception. Ensuring the dignity and integrity of the people served in the social impact space means we take your data’s security very seriously. With our platform’s data security features, you can rest assured that the privacy of your surveys will not be compromised, regardless of where you work. We go above and beyond industry standards on our platform, ensuring that your survey data is encrypted and inaccessible to unauthorized access during transmission and storage.
A man and woman shake hands in Cape Town, South Africa.
Secure surveys. Safe people.

Secure Surveys with Custom Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

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Your data is protected by SSL when being transmitted over the internet, and when it is downloaded by an end-user. We provide at-rest and in-transit encryption to protect data against unauthorized outside access–including from our own site administrators. 

Secure Surveys with Passwords

Password-protect your data collection forms by requiring users to log in before accessing them. SurveyCTO has industry-standard password expiration and complexity requirements for all passwords: At least eight characters, one uppercase character, one special character, and annual expiration. We also make these requirements customizable by account admins, so they can be tailored to your organization’s standards.

Woman using smartphone with icon graphic cyber security network of connected devices and personal data information

Seamless Single Sign-On (SSO) Functionality

A woman's hand holds a wooden ball with the abbreviation SSO (Single sign-on). Business concept

Enable SSO (external authentication) so that users can only log in to your SurveyCTO account through an external provider like Google, Okta, or Microsoft Azure Active Directory. Using the Single Sign-on feature means users don’t need to worry about managing a separate password and you can rely on your external provider to provide strong, multi-factor authentication options for added security.

End-to-end Encryption for Secure Surveys and Data

Add an additional layer of protection with our end-to-end encryption option for survey forms and datasets. End-to-end encryption allows you to make data unreadable and therefore protected, even from users in your own organization who don’t need to see the sensitive data you’re collecting. Make your forms and data accessible only to users with a private encryption key that you generate and manage.

User Roles to Restrict Data Access

Screenshot of SurveyCTO user roles.

Secure data collection doesn’t just mean safeguarding against typical cybersecurity concerns. It also means limiting who can access your workflows and data. The nature of computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI) means that many data collectors are typically needed to run a survey. And with many people accessing your organization’s workflows comes an inevitable increase in security concerns.

SurveyCTO has you covered with options for user roles, teams, and dedicated workspaces that let you keep your forms, data, and even settings secure by making them accessible to authorized users only.

Require Device Security

Data security starts on the mobile devices used to collect data during fieldwork. Easily set up your account to require all of the following for your users:

  • Lock screen: Have users secure devices with a lock screen (PIN, pattern, fingerprint)
  • Device encryption: Leave this enabled on your users’ devices so that no one can remove a device’s SD card and gain access to your data
  • Don’t allow jailbroken or rooted devices: Jailbroken iOS devices and rooted Android devices are much less secure, so use this setting to ensure all devices are running safe, authentic software.
  • Dedicated workspaces: A “dedicated” workspace contains forms and data for only a single account and helps to keep your server’s forms, data, and settings separated from other accounts you might have.
  • Don’t allow any outside access: Ensures that the only way to access forms and data stored within a workspace is via SurveyCTO’s Collect app.
A secure mobile device.

Better data, better decision making, better world.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is Survey Security, and Why Is It Important?
Survey security means safeguards used to protect survey data. Those safeguards are necessary to protect confidential survey data, which includes personal details, honest feedback, and sometimes highly sensitive information of survey respondents, like Personal Identifiable Information (PII). Any loss of data or breach of data security can result in respondents losing trust in you. In some cases, it can directly compromise respondents’ physical safety.

How Can I Ensure the Security of My Data?
You can ensure the security of your survey data by using a survey platform that provides features such as SSL encryption, SSO options, password protection, data export options, data deletion options, and data breach notifications. SurveyCTO is one such survey platform that offers all of these features to keep your survey data safe and secure.

What Are the Common Security Threats to Mobile Data Collection?
Data collection in international development, crisis-affected areas and for social justice causes have many security threats. It is vital to ensure that there are no data breaches, which can occur when sensitive data shared by respondents gets leaked or stolen. Some other common security threats to mobile data collection can include phishing attacks, authentication errors, and survey fraud.

Are Offline Surveys More Secure Than Online Surveys?
Offline surveys are considered more secure than online surveys due to higher data security during collection. Responses collected via offline surveys are stored locally on the devices used to administer surveys, significantly reducing the chances of data breaches. That said, there can still be a security hole in offline surveys if the devices storing data fall into the wrong hands or get lost. Therefore, make sure to address any security concerns and enable password protection for your enumerators’ devices and the mobile survey app they are using to run secure surveys and data collection workflows.

SurveyCTO is based on Open Data Kit (ODK), the most widely-used open source platform for data collection. We added hundreds of improvements, hosting, documentation, and support, in order to increase its reach, usability, and power. Learn about how we compare to other platforms.