Why Biotech Startups Should be Cautious About the Cloud

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 10/10/13 8:30 AM

transition to the cloudCloud computing solutions have helped relieve a lot of common IT problems. They allow easy and immediate scalability of an IT infrastructure at a fixed price. Plus, they facilitate remote access and data backup, issues that were major headaches in the past.

As exciting as this new technology is, it is not perfect. There are dozens of different cloud service providers offering a wide range of services and myriad promises. Selecting the right cloud provider for your company, and implementing the service effectively, is not as simple as you might expect.

Biotech startups owe it to themselves to consider the cloud as part of their IT platform, but it is important to exercise some caution. Keep these risks in mind before you commit to any service.

Security Threats

Anytime you send your data off-site, you expose it to a certain amount of risk. This has been exacerbated by the shared access of cloud computing. When you store your data in a collective repository, it is vulnerable to threats from other cloud users, from the cloud provider itself, or from vulnerabilities within your own company.

Any cloud computing strategy must also include new provisions for data security. The protections and policies you have in place may be inadequate, or actually create vulnerabilities.

Lack of Standards

One of the most common problems that small businesses run into when they hastily embrace the cloud is a lack of standards within the company. Different employees use different cloud services, data gets duplicated and mixed up, and no one is committed to using best practices. When this happens, the benefits of the cloud go out the window. The cloud can actually cause more problems than it solves.

It is important to plan for cloud usage company-wide, to institute policies, and to restrict important controls. Without a detailed plan in place that every employee is aware of and committed to, your cloud solution can quickly go haywire.

Unreliable Providers

As demand for cloud computing has increased, more and more tech startups have tried to capitalize on the market. Some of these companies offer innovative services and competitive pricing plans, and others simply want to make quick money. Some cloud providers might have lax security, an unstable business model, or have hidden charges and fees built into their contracts.

Before selecting any cloud provider, it is important to assess you needs, evaluate your means, and research your options. No matter what kind of cloud solution you need, you have choices. Do not settle for the first one to make you a flashy sales pitch.

Disorganized Implementation

The transition to the cloud is an important concern that many people overlook. In order to realize the full benefit of this technology, it is important that all of you data migrates, that it is organized and responsibly accessible, and that it is cleared from your old hard drives if necessary. If you have a lot of data to deal with, it is not safe to assume that it is all suddenly in the cloud because you have made the switch. You may end up disposing of an old external hard drive that has important data on it that never made it to the cloud.

Having a systematic plan in place ensures that you can avoid these oversights. First you must identify where all of your data is stored, then you must manage the transfer, and finish by confirming that it has all made it to the cloud successfully.

If you act responsibly, there is no reason that you can't enjoy all the benefits of the cloud and avoid all the risks. The best way to identify the right cloud provider and work the technology into your business operation smoothly, safely, and cost effectively is to work with an expert IT partner. Their experience and expertise with this process can save you time and hassles down the road. To learn more about the right way to use the cloud, read our white paper “After the Seed: Planning Investment for a Biotech Startup.”

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Topics: Cloud IT Solutions, IT Security, Biotech, Data Security


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