Importer: What are Sensitive Fields and How Do I Change Them?

Teena Blaydes -

Sensitive fields are identifying fields in a student file (manually uploaded to the importer or received in an automatic student sync). They identify that a user account is unique. 

  • username
  • email_address
  • auth_identifier
  • card_id

For security purposes, by default, these fields will NOT be changed if the importer receives a different value for the same student through the automated sync.

  • Ex: a student's email address in Handshake is but the file sent from the registrar lists this student's email address as in our latest upload.

Instead of processing this row successfully and changing the student's email address in Handshake, this row will be "failed" on your importer job and you will have to process this change by downloading these failures and manually uploading a file to confirm that you would like to change the email address. 

The importer CAN change these fields automatically if our team receives confirmation from your school that you would like to turn on this functionality (next section below).

Enabling Sensitive Fields Updates through an Automatic Sync

To enable the automatic student sync to change sensitive fields, please submit these two forms by the relevant team in your office to confirm your understanding of this functionality and your responsibility for data integrity:

Once these forms are received, our importer team will enable this functionality for your school on the Importer. Automated student sync files will then process changes to sensitive fields automatically if the following conditions are met:

  • File must come through automated S3 syncs
  • File must not have more 10% of the records changing sensitive fields
    • NOTE: If more than 10% of the records have sensitive field changes, the file will still process and those records will be available in the “Download Failed Rows” file for manual upload as is the current process.
  • For each record, at least one value between username or email address must remain constant

Identifying Sensitive Fields Errors on the Importer

In order to identify the rows in your student file upload that failed because of a sensitive field, follow these steps:

1. Go to your job on the importer. Click "View/Download Results" in the top right hand corner.

2. Click "Download Failed Rows CSV":

3. Scroll to the far right column on the download spreadsheet, you will see two additional columns, with the error message for the sensitive fields error in the last column.

I've received an error "attempted to change sensitive fields" - What do I do?

  • This occurs when any change is made to email, auth identifier, card identifier, username
  • Review the user/s that failed, determine if any sensitive field has been updated since the last sync
  • Was this an intended change?
    • If yes, see 'How-To Change Sensitive Fields'
    • Otherwise, confirm that the values being sent through to Handshake are accurate
  • If this change was not intended, these users do *not* have duplicate accounts (e.g. with a personal email), and there are no duplications being sent in the user file, please contact us to assist with the issue.

How do I know if there are duplicate sensitive fields in my file?

  • When uploading to the Importer, you'll receive feedback from the analyzers indicating any duplicate sensitive field values found
  • Use a personal program (such as Excel or Numbers) to compare possible duplicate records

How do I know if this sensitive field is associated to another account within Handshake?

  • These fields should be unique to each user at your school. 
    • If these fields are not unique to the student, please contact your Account Manager immediately to go over alternatives for handling this situation
  • If sensitive field is associated ("already taken") to another account, this is generally due to the user having multiple Handshake accounts
    • The undesired account is then archived
    • e.g. User signed up with personal email address but associated their school username and auth_identifier to their account
    • When school attempts to sync this user with their school email, username, auth_id, that user will fail due to this information being associated with another account
    • This generally requires a deconfliction that happens at the Student and School level (to determine which account they want to retain)

How do I change sensitive fields manually?

1. Re-upload the failed rows spreadsheet that you downloaded from the original job. Prior to upload, delete the last two columns: "status" and "response".

2. When uploading the file to the Importer, make sure that the field for "Allow Job to change sensitive data" is selected, as shown below:







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