September 29, 2017
Almost every state that has legalized medical and recreational cannabis has established strict regulatory and quality assurance programs through mandatory testing and strict accounting of cannabis sample masses. Cannabis testing laboratories face an overwhelming challenge to manage their testing workflows in strict adherence to these programs. Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a software platform that can manage all laboratory operational requirements, streamline testing workflows and manage data while ensuring compliance standards through sample tracking and audit trails. Nowadays, laboratories are increasingly adopting cloud-based LIMS solutions over the traditional on-premise tools for its easy deployability, security and scalability.
Cannabis testing laboratories often work on a limited budget and spending on laboratory supplies such as consumables, instruments, reagents etc. A limited budget often restricts laboratories from investing in software tools, essential for enhancing efficiency and reliability. A traditional on-premise LIMS requires purchase of expensive computer hardware, licenses, need for trained IT personnel and infrastructure maintenance; a protracted implementation time-frame; costly customization, training and support services. On the other hand, a cloud-based LIMS, offered as SaaS, is quickly deployable and is available for a subscription fee. If the product is configurable, you save on paying for customization.
A LIMS helps testing labs manage cannabis samples and automate testing workflows with users having access to the software anytime anywhere through an internet ready device. To ensure compliance with laboratory standards such as ISO 17025, 21CFR and federal regulations, a cloud-based LIMS can easily interface through its web-based API for data exchange with all the available instruments, third party software and regulatory software such as Metrc, BioTrackTHC and MJ Freeway.
Cloud-based LIMS vendors ensure data security by deploying their software on data centers provided by world-class Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) physically secure the IT hardware (such as servers, routers, cables etc.) against unauthorized access, interference, theft, fire, flood etc. Additionally, cloud-based software vendors employ advanced encryption algorithms, for data being transmitted, stored and being saved. so that your data is secure. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) have business continuity and data recovery plans in place to ensure that the services can be maintained in case of a disaster or an emergency and any data loss would be recovered.
Software vendors offering Cannabis LIMS software solutions, prefer public cloud model, where the customers pay only for CPU cycles, storage or the bandwidth they consume. Some of the leading public cloud providers who allow hosting web-based LIMS or other applications are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure and IBM/SoftLayer. There is a steady positive shift towards cloud-based services in the Cannabis industry. Take for an instance, the recent announcement of Tech-Giant Microsoft, offering its Azure cloud platform to Los Angeles-based start-up Kind Financial to set up a tracking & compliance system in line with Metrc, BioTrackTHC and MJ Freeway. With its Azure cloud platform, Microsoft is moving towards a foolproof solution to data privacy and security issues.
CloudLIMS white paper: LIMS - Going the Cloud Way