Current trends in research data storage

This article highlights the latest trends and challenges linked to storing research data on a cloud.
cloud data storage

Current trends in research data storage

Recently, Avere, a leading organization specializing in various forms of data storage facilities, hosted its first webinar on current trends in research data storage and data management.

The audience addressed a wide range of topics ranging from the best ways to store biological data to effective and secure cloud storage options. Below are some conclusions on cloud-based data storage and challenges faced by researchers in the life-science industry.

  1. Cloud data storage is a cheaper solution for international transfer of data: Buying data transit in bulk results in increased network connectivity and translational bandwidth. Major cloud players apply this strategy to their business models and thus, reduce internal bandwidth costs. These savings are translated to the customer in the form of inexpensive data movement across the world.
  2. There are no international standards on use and storage of clinical data: National regulatory frameworks like CLIA or HIPPA are the only entities that specify a set of guidelines and rules involved in clinical data storage and sharing. As of now, the Global Alliance for Genomic Health is a non-profit alliance that aims at standardizing clinical and genomic data sharing methods.
  3. Extending cloud data storage to clinical data means first overcoming regulatory and standardization issues: In terms of technology and infrastructure, cloud providers are far more secure and well-monitored. Regulatory protocols and lack of standardized methods serve as a bottleneck to adapting cloud-based technology into the life-science industry. Regulatory protocols differ internationally thus causing a lot of skepticism and ambiguity in adapting new technology for data storage.
  4. Hybrid cloud storage is the best option for customers who look for a secure and cost-effective infrastructure: Public cloud allows you to build, manage and scale your own infrastructure based on your needs. Private cloud allows you have full control on the security of your data. However, a hybrid cloud approach allows customers to get the best of public and private cloud. Users can use a public cloud service, while maintaining an in-house storage centre for clinical data, in order to satisfy regulatory requirements.
  5. Trust issues related to cloud data storage for clinical data are more of a management concern than a technological concern: Bigger data storage companies with experience in the life-science industry take far more stringent measures in securing their software and infrastructure versus smaller data centres. Most of the security requirements demanded of cloud providers are unheard of to smaller, in-house data companies. Cloud providers are able to provide data storage services without having any control or access to your data. All you need is encryption and a good management infrastructure to determine your control over data stored on a cloud.

SmartBiobank is a research data management system that offers hybrid cloud storage facilities as well as advanced statistical and visualization tools for clinical and genomic data. Click here to learn more.

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