Tag Archives: Intralinks

Moving Data Security to the Centre of the Business

by Jon Collins, Senior Technology Consultant at Inter Orbis

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to speak to Clément Cazelot at Intralinks, about the role of data security in the digital world. As I ruminate on our discussion, I can’t help wondering how the message would be received. After all, it’s not as if we haven’t spoken about data security before.

Some of the topics may seem familiar — the fact that a company’s electronic boundaries are no longer impenetrable (if they ever were), for example. The Jericho Forum was set up in 2004 to promote the idea of de-perimeterisation; the organisation folded in 2013 when it was clear this had become the norm.

And as for data being a strategic business asset, well, that takes me back to a meal of senior security people I attended a good few years ago. All agreed with the premise, if only the business felt the same.

Or what about the fact that security doesn’t have to be seen as an unwelcome cost, but as a ‘business enabler’? This counterpoint to security’s frequent struggle for funds has been around ever since I was an IT manager, as far as I know, and probably longer.

So, what gives? Are we destined to trot out the same messages for the next few decades, as part of a continued attempt to squeeze paltry security funding out of a disinterested budgetary stone? While this may be true, bigger events are afoot.

Over a mere handful of years, technology’s role has morphed. Even as the Jericho Forum was staking its claim, Nicholas Carr was presenting the popular fiction that IT had commoditised and could no longer be the basis of competitive advantage.

Of the former, he may have been right: tech has become an intrinsic element of our post-millennial existence. Even electric toothbrushes contain tiny processors, simply because they are the cheapest option.

But, the latter point. IT is not only a source of business advantage; rather, it has become the primary source, driving innovation and engagement across every industry. While the term ‘digital transformation’ may lack definition, business leaders around the world are changing their strategies accordingly.

It is this change of emphasis that trumps all previous statements about the role of security. If data really is the new oil, its protection becomes paramount. In the digitally enabled business, security cannot be considered as a bolt-on. It is an inherent part of business success.

So yes, sure, let’s keep talking about where security fits, about how to encrypt data and architect systems to minimise technical, and therefore business risk. But let’s also recognise that if data is moving to the centre of business strategy and execution, then so must its security.

Andrew Mitchell, Director Life Sciences Strategy and Product Marketing, Intralinks

Andrew MitchellAndrew has many years of experience working in and with the Life Sciences industry, delivering innovative software solutions through his time with Covance, Relsys, Medidata and BioPharm Systems (Oracle Gold implementation partner). With a focus on Software as a Service, he has a strong belief in providing solutions that simplify and improve the user experience and the relevant subject matter expertise to ensure delivery of real benefits and enhanced compliance.

Andrew will present Intralinks’ webinar “Remote monitoring of Investigator Site Files (Regulatory Binders) and Source Documents” on the 18th September at 11am New York/4pm London. You can register now to reserve your place.

1. What inspired you to get into the industry?

My grandfather was the chief medical doctor in South Africa, my mother is a physiotherapist and my sister a surgeon, so to some extent it’s definitely in my blood. I’ve always been fascinated by technology and the business side to things, so it’s not a big surprise that I’m in this industry.

I previously worked extensively in Pharmacovigiliance (Drug Safety), assisting pharmaceutical companies move from paper to electronic reporting to the regulatory authorities and then for an EDC vendor to run clinical trials that simply would not have been possible using paper CRFs, so joining Intralinks to assist with moving study documents online (both at the sponsor and at the site) was a natural progression for my career.

2. What do you enjoy most about presenting to a live audience?

We’re all in this industry trying to make big changes in the world. Bringing new drugs to market faster and safer truly impacts peoples’ lives.

A live audience, whether at a conference or a small meeting, means I can truly engage with my peers, listen and learn from them.

3. Tell us about yourself; do you have any hobbies or ways to help you relax?              

I enjoy getting lost in a book and cooking, mountain biking and scuba diving with my wife. We also have two affectionate Persian/Bengal cats and playful chocolate Labrador – who keep us entertained for hours.

4. What’s your favourite flavour of ice-cream?


5. Where is the one place in the world that you would like to visit and why?

Athuruga Island, Maldives – we had an amazing honeymoon there and would love to return as it’s a magical place – snorkelling with turtles, whale sharks and sheer island bliss.

Remember to register for Andrew’s upcoming webinar where you can ask him questions live on the webinar.