Pharma's cloud doubts prompt tech firms to add local alternatives

While service providers talk up the convenience and flexibility of moving to the cloud, pharma execs are as likely to flag up the litany of privacy, security and technical risks created by the transition. And having struggled to convince everyone the benefits far outweigh the risks, more service providers are offering local alternatives to their cloud-based systems.

Enterprise Networking Planet noted the trend after attended the Bio-IT World Expo late last month. At the expo Bina Technologies, Seven Bridges Genomics and other technology providers showed off ways companies can access their NGS data-handling systems without using a cloud-based platform. Bina presented an enterprise-grade server and desktop version of its technology, while Seven Bridges has joined with BioTeam to offer local and hybrid models to clients.

Microsoft ($MSFT) and others have pushed the cloud-in-a-box model to other industries, while the likes of Transporter are offering the public and small businesses a private cloud alternative to Dropbox. The approach is understandably attractive to biopharma companies, which want the ability to access data and applications remotely but are unwilling to risk the regulatory and confidentiality headaches of a public cloud-based system.

Talking to FierceBiotechIT earlier this year, Auven Therapeutics CIO Jim Cooper advocated the private cloud model. Auven, a private equity fund that also operates as a virtual drug development company, hosts everything in Bermuda and then runs a private cloud to allow staff and collaborators to access files remotely. "Our documents and our data are really the only assets we have. It is a good thing to have documents available from any device, but they need to be secure," Cooper said.

- read ENP's feature
- get more from Cooper