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CytoSMART cloud security

Our devices are connected to Microsoft Azure cloud environment

Unlimited data storage and fast computing time makes the cloud far superior to any standard desk-top computer. CytoSMART has ensured users can archive and use data in a secure environment. Our adopted protocol is based on three pillars: data security, privacy, and compliancy to international regulations.

Why use a cloud solution?

Opting for cloud computing is a huge innovative change, but why use an online solution? Our devices are connected to the cloud for several reasons.

Data is stored rapidly with an unlimited capacity. Our devices can potentially generate enormous amounts of data. The CytoSMART Omni, allows users to create time lapse videos of whole-wells of a full well plate. A single scan consists of over 6500 cell level photos that are automatically stitched together and analyzed. The amount of data collected in a experiment, even if it just consists of a few scans, adds up quick and all of the data needs to be processed, analyzed, and stored. The cloud provides a solution to store and process all of the data without the need to set up an expensive server or data storage technology.

This brings us to the next advantage; Computing speed. Image analysis is a great tool to extract complex data from simple time-lapse videos. Cell proliferation, cell migration, and colony formation can all be calculated from time lapsed imaging. If these quantifications were to be done manually, this would take an enormous amount of time. Even with optimized algorithms, big data needs high computing power. In the cloud, computational 'assignments' are split up and performed in parallel, each assignment solving a fraction of the puzzle. The cloud brings together an army of computers to process your data without the need to purchase, store, or staff an army of computers.

Cloud powered devices can be accessed remotely. From inside your office, or via your phone, you monitor your cells and observe the progress of the experiment. This can be highly beneficial for specialized labs such as BSL-3/4 labs, but also in the current social distancing situation we find ourselves in. If you don’t have to be in the lab to perform routine checks, observing confluency or morphology then your co-workers can be.

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We wrote about the benefits of remote working for BSL-3/4 labs. Find that article here.

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These are the main reason for us to opt for cloud computing. However, the one thing a researchers is careful about, is data protection, to prevent data loss and external parties from interfering with your data.

Luckily the cloud is a safe space to store data.

Trust your cloud

Cloud services are becoming increasingly useful and help to provide efficient solutions to manage professional security needs. They simplify net configuration, ensuring reliability and availability of services and usage, and provide automatic data-backup functionality.

Multiple layers of protection.

Thanks to the continuous evolution of the technology, CytoSMART has reached clear and detailed solutions to guarantee prioritization of security. To ensure you can work in a safe environment we have developed a protocol for data protection, based on a strategy founded on multiple layers of protection.


Upload and download protected, through Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

Both the upload and the download of your data goes through Secure Socket Layer. This technology ensures connection security and protects the exchanged sensitive data. It prevents unauthorized third parties from intercepting or modifying the transferred information. Again, as mentioned above, data are encrypted and can only by read in the cloud, where the decoding key is stored.

Encryption of the data

CytoSMART uses cryptography to protect all data. Encryption ensures that the data can only by read in the cloud, where the decoding key is stored. This safeguards information and is the simplest way to guarantee that cannot be stolen. It also proves that the information is authentic and that it derives from our database.

Data is never lost

CytoSMART has a triple redundant storage – which helps preventing eventual liabilities in protection that could cause disruption or loss of data. Should a server failure occur, there are always 2 backups available. The stored data cannot be modified and the original data are always stored on a separate server.

Periodical checks to software integrity

To keep improving our image analysis software and improve user experience we perform software updates on a continuous basis, although older versions remain supported. With every update, our software engineers perform extensive checks to make sure that the integration of new functionalities can be done without causing disruptions. This is done both automatically and through manual checks. This provides all customers with immediate access to updated and advanced software options.

Penetration test and ethical hacking

These cloud security measures are continuously put to the test. We run penetration tests on a yearly basis: ethical hacking. Ethical hacking is a real cyberattack - authorized and performed by an independent third party to evaluate the security of the system. In case of a possible breach into the cloud, CytoSMART would be instantly aware of the weaknesses, and would take the appropriate measures to ensure the highest security. We are very proud to declare that the cloud is continuously tested despite being unbreachable in the lasts ethical hacking drills.

Reinforced protocol through the Microsoft Azure System

Despite the strength of all the above mentioned strategies we are not satisfied that the sum of all measures are enough. We consider data security the highest priority and to further strengthen our protocol, we have teamed up with Microsoft Azure to create a system impervious to hacking. Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. Azure invests more than a billion dollars on research and development of security themes - with 3.500 cybersecurity experts operating at global level to real-time monitor possible security threats. Next to this, they make sure that there is an in-depth defense line against security threats by detection of and protection against threats via the Azure Security Center.

Updated certifications valid on local and global scale

We guarantee to always be compliant with regulations and norms. All the services offered by Microsoft Azure hold more than 90 compliance certificates and Azure is globally committed to keeping governments, authorities, regulatory bodies, and non-governmental organizations protected and operative. These certificated are valid on a local and global scale and constantly compliant with all the latest norms and legal frames in use.

How to work in a secure environment

We want to provide you with the best tools to work in a secure environment yet, we also comprehend the need to have a private environment.

Cloud privacy is controlled by the following standards:

1. We make sure that your personal data are protected, respecting GDPR guidelines

2. The data that you create with one of our devices are controlled by you only, in your own environment

We provide you the best tools, follow our procedure

To provide protection, we give our users the following tools:

  • Users can only access their data by logging in to their protected environment using their account information (email + password).
  • Users can invite people to access data via a share button. Invitations can be sent via email. If the recipients do not have an account yet, they first need to create one before they can access data.
  • You remain the owner of your data. CytoSMART does not own the content you store in the cloud and we therefore could never use it for advertisement or marketing purposes.

Users within your environment can be added or removed only if you have administrator rights. Data can be easily organized to your needs by using the folder structure of projects and experiments.

We take care of your data

Naturally, all research data are precious. Acquiring them is time consuming and expensive. We believe that a cloud solution provide many advantages, and is a secure option. We care about your data and make sure you are the only person who is able to manage access to what you store.

Author


Ailén Gamberoni

Experienced journalist and communication expert with a demonstrated history of work in the editorial industries. I work as contributor for several Italian national headlines and for the European platform Innovation Origins.

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