What is the best choice for sample management software in your lab: Cloud-hosted or on-premises?
It depends on what your company requires from a sample management software solution. Among other things, it can hinge on how tightly you need to follow IT policies and where the data your company has invested time and money to generate is stored.
Let’s have a little fun and compare the idea of adopting cloud-based or on-prem sample management software to leasing or buying a car.
Cloud-hosted sample management software
In comparing hosting solutions to a new car – cloud-hosting is a lot like leasing. When you go to lease a car, you are presented with a plethora of choices, including size of the car and service options like roadside assistance.
When we consider cloud hosting, it is very similar. We can choose to have powerful servers, high availability, data replication, redundancy and SLAs – all from the standard checklist of options. The cloud hosting vendor will create the environment per the selected requirements and present it to us when we log in. Just like picking up the keys to our new lease car.
This approach can remove a lot of pressure from IT departments as it removes the need to invest, set up, configure, and maintain complex infrastructures. Also, if we take our lease car across country/state lines, a dealership is usually close by if we have an issue. The same is true of cloud-hosted solutions. They can be deployed to areas where we may not have IT presence. This makes providing global solutions a lot easier.
Now, on the other side of the coin – have you ever had a lease car and had a punctured tire? When you return the car to the dealership, they replace the tire with one they have in stock. This is also the same with cloud hosting. The customer has little or no say in the infrastructure that supports their application.
Then we consider compliance. How do we know the location of the data we are storing? What guarantee do we have that it has not left the country it was collected in? What guarantee do we have that no one else can access our data? These are among the main questions any company will ask before storing their data in the cloud.
On-prem sample management software
One of the other options for sample management software is on-premises. This is a lot like buying a car. A larger initial investment is needed to procure, set up, and configure the infrastructure. However, if you want to put sticky tires on your car for a track day or you need to tune the turbo for optimal performance, you have full control over the infrastructure.
The question of where the data is stored is also answered: It is safely in our garage, behind our corporate firewall, or on an air-gaped network. We can be sure the data is stored in compliance with our company policies as we have security measures on access to the garage. We have swipe cards and passwords that show which users accessed the garage on which days and at which times.
So, what happens when we open a new office? We need to procure and extend our infrastructure to allow new staff access to our software. This will require maintenance. And if there are any issues, we need a member of the IT department to resolve the issues. This is a downside of on-premises solutions.
Hybrid sample management software
The last option is a hybrid solution. This is where a company can have their own infrastructure that connects to a cloud-hosted solution. Going back to the car analogy, this is like having an electric motor to maintain the performance when the gasoline engine torque curve drops.
This allows companies to keep sensitive research data on their on premises servers, while non-sensitive data such as test environments and web servers can be stored in the cloud. However, to the end user, there will be no difference. Both types of servers/software can use LDAP or single sign-on, so the end user can sign onto both with the same username and password.
This allows the company to only invest in the infrastructure required to support their business-critical platforms while leasing servers to support non-business critical platforms. It also means that companies can utilize aspects of the cloud to ensure high availability between applications without having to invest in complex infrastructure of their own.
Depending on what you need, BiobankPro® can define better workflows for your lab from the cloud or on-prem!