Student Sync: What is a sensitive field and how do I update it?

Teena Blaydes -

Sensitive fields are basically 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, these fields will NOT be changed if the importer receives a different value for the same student. Instead, these rows will be "failed" on your importer job. 

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?

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:





Note: This is not a standard sync you can run through AWS or the Importer. Your Handshake Importer Team will need to configure the file task to allow for changing sensitive fields.







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