March 01, 2016
Traditional LIMS incurs expenses in maintenance, purchase of infrastructure, support, upgrades and payroll upwards of $150,000. Not all laboratories have a dedicated budget allocated every fiscal to support and maintain IT resources. SaaS (Software as a Service) is an emerging software delivery model, that is gaining wide acceptance for addressing the needs of small and medium enterprise (SMEs) labs. With the SaaS model, customers can pay a low monthly subscription fee and start using a LIMS instantly.
(On-site Software Application)
|Software as a Service
|High Upfront Cost in Purchasing the Product||Available for an Affordable Monthly Subscription|
|Advanced Infrastructure and Maintenance Needed||All that is Needed is an Internet Ready Device|
|Dedicated IT team required||Maintenance & Support Included in Monthly Subscription, Guaranteed Uptime|
|Long Drawn Deployment||Quick Deployment, Takes a Couple of Hours|
|Upfront Purchase Required for Future Needs||Scale as You Go, Extensible|
|Accessible Inside Company Network||Accessible Anytime, Anywhere|
|Paid & Occasional Upgrade Installations||Free & Ongoing Automatic Upgrades|
LIMS provided as a SaaS is typically hosted in the cloud and can be accessed via a web browser using thin clients such as laptops, tablets and smart phones. This facilitates real time collaboration amongst laboratories located across the globe. Cloud based applications eliminates the need to invest in building IT infrastructure and hiring of trained personnel, enabling quick, easy and cost effective deployment in a secure and reliable environment.
Major pharmaceutical companies such as AMAG, Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer and biobanking institutes such as Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute, Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, Cypress Bioscience have incorporated cloud based applications offered as SaaS. Key drivers of SaaS adoption are low initial cost of ownership, rapid deployment, low internal IT resource need and improved business.
Restricted access to confidential data and control by third party IT personnel are the major concerns raised by organizations for considering cloud based applications. Cloud based applications provide layers such as IaaS, SECas, DaaS, etc., to monitor the application at different levels based on privileges. Additionally, robust methods including auto scaling, load balancing, service monitoring are incorporated for efficient handling of the application.
Data security is addressed using the layered approach by applying different encryption and intrusion-detection mechanisms, while network security is addressed by applying the best industrial practices such as firewall/route tables, IP spoofing, port scanning, packet sniffing, VPN gateway, etc. Java scripts, one of the leading causes of malware and malicious activities, are disabled by the application's security mechanism. User authentication using unique login credentials and role-based access to sensitive data are the key internal security features offered by cloud based software.
Stringent server and auditing guidelines, SLAs are enforced to provide fool-proof security and privacy, 99.5% uptime and multi-tenancy. The availability of application support staff ensures effective database tuning and application maintenance, assuring seamless processing of data with minimal disruption and scalability as per user-driven demand.
The enterprises are under significant pressure to comply with a wide range of standards, in addition to auditing practices such as AICPA developed SOC and ISO. Additional regulations are distinctly levied by corresponding organizations, as per the laws laid by their respective countries. Major cloud service providers such as Amazon EC, Opsource and GoGrid follow regulatory guidelines. Application servers are also made available within the host country of the end-user in compliance with the regulations. Cloud based applications offered as SaaS follow regulatory guidelines including 21 CFR Part 11 and HIPAA, thereby making laboratories regulatory compliant.