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Protect the Integrity and Defend the Authenticity of Cloud-Based Scientific IP

July 26, 2010

As more bio-technology and life sciences organizations look to reap the operational and cost-savings benefits that a transition to cloud computing can offer, the risk to their organization increases exponentially. The protection of critical scientific intellectual property (IP) as it leaves the perimeter of the development organization into the “hands” of a third-party custodian becomes paramount. Putting IP research “into the cloud” poses data integrity, authenticity and ownership concerns if essential security controls are not in place.

Executives of R&D-based organizations have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize and protect the value of their company’s assets. Intangible assets drive nearly 70 percent of a bio-technology company’s market value, predominantly in the form of scientific IP. There are documented cases in which a company’s loss of intellectual property, either to a competitor or to the public domain, has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue, legal fees, reduced market valuations and damages related to class-action lawsuits.

Truly innovative life sciences and bio-technology companies making the move to the cloud take scientific intellectual property protection seriously, and integrate data-level security controls, such as trusted third-party timestamping, into their electronic lab informatics systems and workflows. They understand that litigation-readiness is a critical part of the IP protection process, and that having the power of proof is an essential safeguard in winning a future patent or legal challenge. Associated with cloud computing is the concept of “chain-of-custody” and being able to legally defend “time-of-creation” and ownership of scientific intellectual property as it changes hands is of utmost importance.

As R&D organizations move to the cloud, they should mitigate the risk of losing scientific intellectual property. The best way to mitigate this risk is to put in place security controls that enable the company to validate the integrity and prove the authenticity of the electronic lab data it needs to support its scientific intellectual property claims. Such controls can prevent these files from being successfully challenged and eliminated as evidence, and can stand up and successfully be defended in terms of “ownership.” For the cloud services provider, integrating these data integrity protection controls, as well as a legally defensible “guarantee” into its own cloud service platform can offer key competitive differentiators over other providers in the market.

Surety’s AbsoluteProof is a third-party, trusted timestamping solution that when integrated into a company’s electronic lab informatics management processes or into a cloud service provider’s platform, enables the organization to prove, independently of their people, processes and systems that the scientific records have never been manipulated since the time they were created, “signed and sealed.” Surety is the only trusted timestamp authority that guarantees the legal defensibility of its service.

– Bob Flinton, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Surety

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