Documentation Home

Secure Data Collection

All Formsite forms at all service levels use a secure (https) connection by default. In order to collect form results securely, you must distribute or embed the secure version of your form link. Secure links will always begin with "https". Read more about https.

Security Terminology

  • TLS - Transport Layer Security. This is the technology used to securely transmit data over a network. Some people refer to this as "SSL", which is the name of an older technology for the same purpose.
  • HTTPS - HTTP Secure. This is how browsers securely transmit data to and from a website.
  • Encryption - This is a way to convert data into a format that cannot be read without a special key.

How Do I Create A Secure Form?

To create a form for collecting sensitive information using our advanced security settings, use the following guidelines:

  1. Enable the "Secure Form" setting on the form's "Form Settings->Security" page to enforce security features for your account, forms, and results. Our default security allows you to create forms that can collect and handle data securely, however it is your responsibility to take advantage of these advanced features when appropriate.
  2. Enable the "Encrypt Result" setting for each text field that collects sensitive information (e.g., credit card numbers or social security numbers). Note that a Pro 1 or higher service level is needed to enable item encryption.
  3. For forms that send email Notifications, use the Secure Email email format or use Results Views to exclude all items that contain sensitive information (e.g., credit card numbers or social security numbers). Email does not transfer data securely and should not be used to send sensitive information.

The "Secure Form" Setting

Forms that collect sensitive information can use the "Secure Form" setting, found on each form's "Form Settings->Security" page.

The "Secure Form" setting affects the following:

  • Insecure (http) links - Any insecure (http) links will refuse submissions.
  • Reports - Any newly created Reports will require a password.
  • Potentially insecure actions - Warnings will appear next to settings and features that, when used incorrectly, may result in data being handled insecurely.

NOTE: The "Secure Form" setting will only disable functionality that is guaranteed to be insecure. To remain flexible for as many users as possible, other features remain enabled but are noted as "potentially insecure". That is, insecure only when used incorrectly. When in doubt, refer to the guidelines in the "How Do I Create A Secure Form?" section above.

Encrypted Fields

Short Answer and Long Answer items can store results in an encrypted format. Encryption is provided for data that needs "extra" security, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. This type of data is already collected and stored securely, but many organizations have policies stating that stored data must be encrypted further.

There is no limit to the number of items you can encrypt, however, we recommend only enabling encryption where appropriate for the best possible performance.

Secure Results

All Formsite account pages use a secure connection when logged in. Viewing and editing your data through your Formsite account will always be secure, however, once you export or email your results outside of your Formsite account they are no longer secure.

Secure Results Files

File attachments to form results can be optionally secured by enabling the "Require login to access files" setting on your forms' "Form Settings->Security" page. This setting will provide an encoded link for files attached to your form results, which will require an authorized user login in order to access. Authorized users include the account owner and any Sub-users with Read or Read/Write access to the form.

Two-factor Authentication

Increase your account security by enabling Two-factor Authentication. This setting connects a mobile device to your account, then requires passing a time-sensitive passcode along with your account username and password to successfully log in.

To set up Two-factor Authentication, enable the setting under "User Menu->Profile", use your mobile device to scan the supplied QR code, then follow the instructions for accessing your passcode using a compatible app:

Security Statement

Data Security

  • Authentication: The safety of your account identification information is taken very seriously, only stored in encrypted formats, and handled over secure connections. Login is required to access collected data and files by default. Account passwords are subject to minimum complexity requirements and encrypted.
  • Authorization: Once authenticated, only your account, or sub-user accounts with correct permissions, will be able to perform actions on your data by default. We also offer secure options to share your results. We strive to maintain as tight controls on actions as possible. You may further customize your user and form permissions.
  • Accounting: Access and activity to accounts and data are routinely logged and analyzed. This information is then regularly used for security reviews and monitoring, as well as performance maintenance. Major activity in your account is also logged and viewable online.
  • Encryption: Sensitive data, such as account credentials and payment information, is encrypted before being transmitted, and is stored in encrypted formats with limited access.
  • Privacy: Our Privacy Policy covers our handling policies for your data.

System & Network Security

  • All Formsite servers are colocated exclusively in a cloud-based architecture with Amazon Web Services using their datacenters hosted in the United States. Find complete information on AWS Security here. In addition to our own staff, AWS provides expert support and system maintenance.
  • Formsite uses high-grade SHA-256 RSA encryption for secure (https) connections over TLS, the same level of security used by banks and other financial institutions. Results that are encrypted use AES encryption, the encryption standard adopted by the United States government.
  • High performance, stability, and DDOS mitigation are achieved through the use of load-balancing on public-facing servers, as well as redundant processing instances and databases across different physical locations. This allows us to be able to support high traffic loads across our user base with high uptime.
  • Formsite servers are routinely monitored and tested by internal and external PCI and system scans, and kept up to date with important security patches and software. Automated monitoring is also in place with the ability to alert Formsite personnel.
  • Secure network access is enforced by multi-tiered firewalls, custom system configurations, and multi-zoned networks.

Administrative Security

  • All Formsite personnel are trained and regularly updated with the latest best practices regarding security and threat management.
  • Access to Formsite resources is reserved solely for employees of Formsite, with minimal access permissions as needed.
  • Activity on Formsite servers and networks are constantly logged and audited. Access to systems and data is highly restricted to only essential skilled personnel, and activity is both tightly controlled and monitored. Our staff also use best security standards, including two-factor authentication, private key-protected secure shell, secure VPN, etc., where possible.

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

  • 24/7 monitoring and intrusion prevention systems are enacted for all public-facing services.
  • Robust alert systems, secure processes and systems allow vital Formsite personnel to respond to issues within minutes at any time.
  • Disaster recovery plans are in place, reviewed regularly, and distributed to all necessary Formsite personnel.
  • Our system and network architecture provide a high degree of fault tolerance and recovery, both in security and performance. Important systems have redundancies in place to support fail-over processes and are also backed up routinely.
  • Backups of all vital systems and data are taken regularly, and copied as appropriate to secure locations in order to provide contingencies across multiple systems and locations.
  • Results data can be exported from your account, allowing you to create personal backups.

Software Development

  • We use technologies including Java, Linux, and MySql to develop Formsite.
  • All software produced by Formsite personnel is subject to regular screening, review, and testing, and is also held to best practices and industry standard guidelines in order to reduce vulnerabilities.
  • Testing on all software is performed in multiple test, or "sandbox", environments before reaching the production environment.
  • Advanced code deployment systems allow us to be able to develop and distribute patches or updates to our code quickly and safely should the need arise due to a bug or vulnerability.

PCI Compliance

  • Formsite is PCI 3.2 compliant. Our servers pass routine PCI compliance scans and we will provide our scan certificate upon request.
  • We are PCI compliant with respect to the handling of billing information for Formsite accounts.
  • All payment integrations are PCI compliant (PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro,, Stripe).
  • If you elect to collect credit card information on your form, it is your responsibility to maintain the PCI compliance of your entire account.
    • Do not collect the three or four digit CVV/CSC card number. Under no circumstances is this ever allowed for PCI compliance.
    • Upgrade to a Pro 3 level of service with Formsite and use the Two-factor authentication option for your login and any sub-user logins. This will satisfy many PCI requirements with respect to protecting account credentials. If you elect not to use Two-factor authentication either due to not having a Pro 3 or higher account or not turning the feature on, you must adhere to username and password requirements outlined here.
    • Data must be removed prior to account inactivation and/or when data is no longer needed. It is your duty to remove the data after it is no longer needed or upon account de-activation.
    • Reports should not be used as a means of sharing card holder data.
    • Your share of responsibility extends to any actions that are in your control that are outlined here. Formsite has covered all of the areas outside of your control.
    • If in doubt of your compliance, we urge you to use one of the Formsite Payment Integrations. Formsite takes all responsibility for the compliance of the payment integrations.

Security Breach Response

While Formsite follows best practices and makes security a priority, transmitting and storing data will still carry some inherent risk. Due to this, we have procedures to enact should a breach occur. In addition to the monitoring and alerting systems mentioned above, our procedures also include contacting account holders by email or placing notices on our main website or within each account, as needed. We also maintain support round-the-clock to communicate with our users and address further questions and concerns.

Responsible Usage

Formsite offers many advanced features and functionality. Therefore, security of your data also relies upon your responsible usage. We provide many features, as noted above, to help protect your data. Responsible usage includes, but is not limited to, keeping your passwords and sensitive account information safe, publishing secure form links, and handling your published results data safely. Any data you distribute should be as limited in scope as possible, and use relevant security features, such as password protection, where possible. In addition, your data security also relies upon the security of any devices or networks that you use to access your Formsite account and data. This includes keeping your computer or device up to date with security patches, enforcing user security standards, and storing and deleting downloaded files safely. For more information on the responsibilities of using Formsite, also see our Terms & Conditions.

Further Requests

Due to our large and varied user base, requests for further specific details or custom security assessments may require a certain level of service. You may also see more details about the features included with each level of service at our pricing page or detailed pricing page. For large existing or potential accounts, we also offer several additional Enterprise Services listed at our pricing page, including White Label and HIPAA Compliant services.

Documentation Home