Cloud computing has revolutionized the way that biotech startups are thinking about IT. Having the ability to store data, run servers or applications, and security safeguards off-site can make the process of managing technology easier for most companies. Cloud solutions are changing the ways that startups set up their IT infrastructure, and also the way that established companies prepare for the challenges of the future.
Moving your data or processing power to the cloud presents exciting opportunities, but it is important to embrace the technology in a careful, measured way. Haphazardly moving all of your company's information onto cloud-based networks can create as many problems as it solves. In order to get the most out of this exciting new technology, be sure to keep the following considerations in mind.
Finding Storage Scalability in the Cloud
In the old days, when all data storage had to take place on-site, it was a major challenge to anticipate storage needs and grow or shrink them as a company’s circumstances and needs evolved. Since cloud storage allows you to store all of your experimental and administrative data off-site, this can lessen the burden to react hastily to local storage needs you may find yourself doing today.
Even more exciting with cloud services is that you can scale your storage capacity almost instantly. If you suddenly need to store a terabyte of new information, your available space can easily be increased by contacting your cloud service provider. The ability to scale quickly means data is less likely to become disorganized because you didn't have the space to store it properly so data gets put in “temporary” locations. And in today's world of “big data,” storage capacity has to be a serious part of your data security system.
Backing up Data with Cloud Services
Much like storage, data backup processes used to occur entirely on site then maybe you had a remote storage company come and pick up your tapes or disks to be stored offsite. This process was time and labor intensive, and had unpredictable costs with buying new tapes, tape drive problems and support renewals for the hardware and software of the backup system. Cloud computing allows you to send all of your data backups over the internet in encrypted format so that they are stored in a secure, off-site location. No matter what is happening at your laboratory, all the data you have produced is safe.
Your IT provider can even show you ways to back up your entire IT infrastructure by using cloud solutions. That means that you can run your entire operation off-site if necessary. Power losses, damaged equipment, and natural disasters never have to be an interruption when the core of your operation is protected by an IT security solution.
Information Security in the Cloud
Biotech startups that choose to use the cloud need to be aware of the vulnerabilities it exposes them to. Remote storage has many advantages, but it also means that you no longer have total control over the flow of your data. Sending and storing information over the internet can expose it to threats, and depending on the cloud storage provider and their own security measures your valuable data could be vulnerable to unauthorized access.
Be conscious of what you are storing in the cloud and selective about who you give final access to. The best way to protect yourself from the threat of hackers, viruses, and negligence is to identify your most crucial data and limit the ways in which it is distributed.
Your IT service provider can show you effective ways to maximize the opportunities and minimize the risks of cloud computing. Relying on your provider’s expertise can help you avoid making common mistakes and oversights.
To learn more about what cloud computing can do for your biotech startup, read our white paper “After the Seed: Planning IT Investment for a Biotech Startup.”