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Yes or No to an EQMS in the Cloud?

EQMS - 25 September 2014

That is the dilemma many of our clients face when it comes to their EQMS. Most of them agree that automating their quality management system is no longer an option. The challenge comes when deciding whether to install the software within their infrastructure or have it hosted in the Cloud. Before I get to this, I would like to share a piece of our journey going in the Cloud.

SOLABS’ Journey to the Cloud

It all began a winter morning when our team began discussing the need to also offer our SOLABS QM software hosted in the Cloud. We weren’t looking to replace our traditional installed software offering but had known for quite some time that other software industries were extremely successful with their Cloud offerings. It was only a matter of time before our clients were going to start to evaluate this option. By the end of our meeting, we had built our general requirements:

• We wanted to offer our clients two options: installed on premises or hosted in the Cloud;
• We wanted to work with a hosting center that was specialized, very secure and stable, and able to ensure our clients’ data was protected;
• We were looking for a center in North America;
• We wanted to work with a provider with a solid reputation that would offer the possibility to expand easily without issues, possibly a provider with multiple sites to allow us to expand to new territories;
• We wanted to work with a provider that offered cost-effective solutions to our clients.

Here some may wonder, why not host the software ourselves? My answer to this is that hosting large amounts of data in a safe and effective matter is not our specialty. Technically, it could have been possible, but we chose to keep our focus and expertise on developing and supporting SOLABS QM.

So, we looked at different providers, one of them being Iron Mountain. I have known about Iron Mountain for years for the other services they offer, such as secure storage of information, so the evaluation process with them was quite simple. Post evaluation, it was evident that Iron Mountain was the right fit for us.

Although I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics about my spring visit to their National data center in Pennsylvania, I can say that the security there is impressive, the kind of security you see in movies. See for yourself: . The site itself is an old limestone mine, it is enormous! I was escorted everywhere and the staff wore key-tags to access different parts of the site. Finally, because it is located inside a mountain, the equipment and data are protected against magnetic waves, making hacking almost impossible. To keep the rooms and servers cool, the facility uses an underground lake, it is terribly impressive. The potential of this center is just amazing!

So, yes or no to the Cloud?

For many good reasons, one of them being operational efficiency, the current trend is to outsource IT needs. I estimate that in the next five years, at least 60% of our clients will choose to have SOLABS QM hosted in the Cloud.

From my perspective, it’s so much easier for both the client and the vendor to have the software hosted. Hosting provides both parties with the peace of mind of not having to manage the entire infrastructure related to SOLABS QM. It’s cost-effective, it doesn’t require dedicated IT resources. Moreover, there is no need for knowledge, material and validation related to the infrastructure. This option allows our clients to focus on learning and using their Enterprise Quality Management System as quickly as possible.

To the objectors of the cloud, I say this: There is no perfect solution for everyone. There is only the perfect solution for you. Whether your software is in-house or in the Cloud, it is still possible to have the same level of security. It seems that most life sciences companies provide employees with access to SOLABS QM through portals or VPNs. This means doors are being opened already, so having software hosted isn’t such a drastic change. For us, what matters the most is that we hold proof that the infrastructure provided by SOLABS and Iron Mountain is on par with our clients’ requirements. This includes security, back-up, restoration, data integrity, maintenance plans and disaster recovery.

That being said, regardless of the solution you choose, we will always provide the necessary resources and support required to get the most out of your SOLABS QM experience.

Would you like to learn more about SOLABS QM? Contact us here!

Kevin Byrne-Langlois, Solutions Architect, SOLABS
September 2014

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