The growth of collaborative work and reliance on contract research organisations plus unprecedented levels of data handling makes the value of Cloud service obvious, agrees Ronen Vengosh. Just don’t overlook safety and compliance.
Collaboration is essential in the life sciences industry. Organisations are required to capture, share and transact on large datasets securely and compliantly within and outside. This isn’t always plain sailing: life science organisations are no longer self-contained, they’ve become sprawling ecosystems reliant on collaborating across regions with research partners, external entities and service providers.
As a result, adoption of public Clouds such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon WorkSpaces (AWS) to accelerate research has surged in recent years, enabling more collaborative work with labs across the globe. However, while the Cloud offers a multitude of growth opportunities, users need to understand how they can harness these platforms securely and compliantly, in a way that enables business continuity.
A PCC solution that’s relevant for both R&D and clinical data will ensure that once an organisation progresses into the clinic, the infrastructure is already there to handle data from trials, eliminating the need to train workers on two different systems or set up different
The Cloud offers many benefits to life sciences organisations, including costeffective computing power, more efficient data processing, easy access to content from anywhere, and advanced data analytics tools. It offers huge potential to boost productivity by reducing the requirement for investment in specialised activities, including experimental, analytical and IT. Certain life science applications are also fuelling Cloud adoption as they natively run on AWS S3 and Azure.
From a security and access standpoint, IT teams can rely on this ecosystem for a centralised view of data across the organisation. With a single access point for all their critical content in the Cloud, labs and organisations can easily exchange data with external partners. Researchers can retrieve and organise trial data and handle large file formats, while receiving instant alerts when risks are detected so they can take immediate action should a threat arise.
However, with collaboration critical to success, some Cloud migration concerns are circulating among business and scientific leaders. Many question whether they are able to do what they need to do quickly and cost effectively, and whether they are signing up for unknown or unforeseen costs. Concerns also exist around data access, data getting locked up, permission management issues, and around how to backup data effectively.
As a majority of research is done by external contract research organisations (CROs) or in time zones on the other side of the world, speed advantage can be nullified. With security a main priority, it’s considered high risk to give multiple CROs access to an AWS account. Some decision-makers are concerned about how to ensure the safe, secure management and movement of diverse – and often massive – datasets, while achieving regulatory compliance related to the handling of data. There is also uncertainty around defence from ransomware attacks.
Aligning productivity and security
In order to fully embrace the power of public Clouds, life sciences companies must embrace solutions that allow a simple, secure and efficient way to move data to and from the Cloud. They also need sufficient visibility and control over the data, all while maintaining appropriate permission rights. A public Cloud connector (PCC) solution can offer the benefits of the public Cloud combined with secure, real-time file access, sharing and data syncing at a fraction of the cost. Users can easily connect their Cloud environments to AWS and Azure without having to write a single line of code. There’s also easy integration with hundreds of industry-specific apps and services including TetraScience, Chemaxon and Benchling.
A PCC solution that’s relevant for both R&D and clinical data will ensure that once an organisation progresses into the clinic, the infrastructure is already there to handle data from trials, eliminating the need to train workers on two different systems or set up different security fences.
How organisations can achieve regulatory compliance
Compliance is ‘table stakes’ for life sciences organisations. A unified platform for life science content can support quality documentation, eTMFs, and features designed to maintain Good Practice compliance, securely share documents and meet data privacy regulations.
Driven by more visibility and control of their data, customers benefit from managing regulated data, secure collaboration and automated compliance with global data privacy laws.
With a unified, easy to use and audit-ready GxP-compliant platform, life sciences organisations can manage the complete lifecycle of regulated documents with EU Annex 11 compliant e-signatures.
The next frontiers of Cloud in the life sciences industry
The last few years have seen huge changes in life sciences industry working practices and dedicated tech solutions that have revolutionised the way these companies use data. While some concerns remain around safe and effective migration of data, many of these can be overcome with a dedicated platform that harnesses data management, collaboration, and data security, specifically for the life sciences sector.
The Cloud can boost the start-up phase for an emerging biotech, while helping to maintain compliance, security and productivity. Equally, the Cloud offers huge cost and operational efficiencies for labs and organisations of all sizes. Taking the right steps to embrace this technology can truly synergise global operations and drive performance.
Ronen Vengosh is Vice President of Life Sciences at Egnyte