LabLynx has always championed cloud-hosted LIMS. In fact, company founder John Jones introduced the ELab LIMS as the world’s first cloud-hosted LIMS in 1997 – officially incorporating LabLynx as a company three years later to support, improve and refine the system. Back then there wasn’t actually any such thing as “the cloud,” it was simply an application and database that were hosted on a server and accessed via the internet through a web browser. It took a long time for the rest of the world to catch up. But today there are very few labs who would entertain the prospect of anything else.
The work entailed in downloading software onto every workstation, then again loading each update in the same way every time one comes out, the lack of ability to collaborate easily, access remotely or simply keep records synchronized and up to date between users and store on a central database – all contributed to making traditional LIMS obsolete. And cloud computing has become very secure, with data encryption, regular risk assessment and backup and recovery protocols that ensure data protection, so that old, initial mistrust of cloud computing has overwhelmingly given way to wholesale acceptance.
However, LabLynx offers both cloud-based and on-premises hosting options, the latter being, in essence, “private cloud” hosting. The decision on which to choose depends on each lab’s organizational structure and whether the lab wants a higher level of control over its information technology. Some organizations have IT policies that require all data to be held physically on-premises. Selective collaborations can still be done, controlled closely by the company’s own IT department.
Benefits of a Cloud-Hosted LIMS vs In-House
Using a cloud-based hosting system means no software installation is needed. LabLynx provides all support, maintenance, and security, so IT services (either in-house or third-party) are not required. Your lab’s instrument integrations are provided by API and supported by LabLynx. And since there is no hardware or software installation, the LabLynx ELab LIMS is immediately ready with your lab’s testing and operational requirements, finalized during implementation. Just enter the URL, log in, and go to work. All updates and regular maintenance are managed smoothly behind the scenes.
Cloud LIMS Security
Your LabLynx ELab LIMS solution will run on secure AWS platforms that are certiﬁed to the highest SSAE SOC 2 standards, ensuring your lab’s compliance with any necessary data standards and regulations. And with data encryption, 24/7 access monitoring and the latest effective intrusion threat prevention SOPs and software. The truth is that today’s highest quality cloud data protection and security, coupled with professional quality management system (QMS) SOPs such as those practiced by LabLynx, are even safer and more reliable than most in-house setups. In fact, according to RapidScale, 94% of businesses say they saw an improvement in security after implementing cloud solutions. And what about the cost of losing data due to compromise or hardware failure? For most labs, or any business, really, it is unthinkable. With our state-of-the art cloud security and systems, data are constantly backed up, servers are redundant and disaster recovery SOPS ensure your data are fully recovered in even the most catastrophic case.
The issues of control of your data, including access, ability to analyze and download if desired, can be reasons why some opt for in-house or staying with non-internet based software. With LabLynx, you always own your data. You can access it, download it or anything else you want to do with it, anytime. And in the unlikely event that we should ever go out of business, you retain both your data and our software. Regarding data analysis: we provide comprehensive data analytics capabilities, through our business intelligence (BI) module. But you can still export your data to any other application you like, if you prefer. You are very much in control!
Regarding control of your data: how much control can you have when you have multiple individual, unconnected computers, each housing its own data? Where do you go for the latest, reviewed and approved versions? Are they spread across multiple spreadsheets, paper files and various apps? With a cloud system, all data are always synchronized, and it’s easy to manage review/approval and report release processes. With LabLynx, documents, data and files are securely, centrally stored in real time, and automatically versioned.
Obviously, perhaps the most significant benefit that cloud computing brings as opposed to traditional, siloed systems is the ability to collaborate. Cloud LIMS systems allow labs to provide secure, controlled access to projects and data to anyone they designate, regardless of of their geographical location. This can be in the form of web portals that are linked with the LIMS itself, or by actually allowing a LIMS login. With LabLynx, the number of portal users you designate can be unlimited, with no extra costs, as opposed to adding users that can add up to increased monthly or annual subscription costs. Importantly, LabLynx ELab LIMS subscriptions do not charge you extra to add users, which you can do yourself. Subscriptions are based on the number of concurrent users, that is, the average annual number of users that are logged in at the same time.
Cloud-Hosted Cost and ROI
The areas of monetary outlay and return on investment (ROI) are where cloud computing can really outstrip traditional models. First, with cloud-hosted models you only pay for any modules or features you actually use, including any work necessary to help you get them set up and configured and any development to suit your particular needs. With downloaded software it is usually all or nothing. Additionally, the cost of having an entire IT department, along with all of the hardware, updates and maintenance, security measures – in addition to the cost of the software purchase itself – is avoided, or at least made much more affordable with a cloud-hosted solution. While these costs are of course built into any subscription, economies of scale mean they are drastically reduced. Add to that the pure stress of constantly having to keep up with the latest threat iterations and technological advances in order to keep moving forward at the pace of the rest of the world, and the cost is even greater when you manage it all yourself. Companies have quickly realized that focusing on their core business is far better than being in the IT hosting and maintenance business as well.
The rewards begin immediately once you adopt a cloud model. With any professional LIMS software there are implementation costs. But with a cloud system, you don’t have to budget for buying the software as well. And implementation time is typically shortened, and costs are further streamlined as training can be conducted in online, recorded sessions that you can revisit as often as you need to. And setup/implementation can be done collaboratively, without travel costs either. Furthermore, you can continue working in your current fashion without interruption, as the new system is spun up and all setup and training done on initial development and testing cloud instances that you simply navigate to on your web browser – even from home. This is also true for any new features or functions you add over time.
The longer you continue with your cloud-based system, the more ROI you see, as the technology is continually updated as regular maintenance occurs. If you have selected a highly user-configurable, flexible system such as the LabLynx ELab LIMS, then the software itself can enjoy virtually unlimited life expectancy – the perfect match for future-proof hosting.