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Software security controls in Analyst® Software ensure the highest standards in data protection for your SCIEX mass spectrometry systems. Safeguarding data security and integrity is of the utmost importance in maintaining quality control in any analytical testing laboratory, and specialized software security settings incorporated into Analyst Software fully protect essential, irreplaceable experimental records. Unfortunately, random cyber-attacks, targeted sabotage, results falsification, and accidental modifications happen all too frequently, and whether the reason for the security breach is deliberate is accidental, every lab can benefit from additional tools for maintaining the security of mass spectrometry records. Furthermore, regulations (including 21 CFR Part 11) require that automated systems be properly secured to prevent unauthorized access and to prevent corruption, loss, or falsification of data collected during the quality control process. Therefore, lab managers and system administrators are finding a secure and reliable computing environment is critical when collecting and storing mass spectrometry data.
To help tackle the issues of data integrity, SCIEX offers a number of security features within Analyst Software1 (on the Windows 7 operating system), which include:
This article discusses the benefits of the Local Security Policy in the Microsoft Management Console of Analyst Software and gives an overview of the software settings that can be engaged to boost data integrity. Additional details on the security advantages of SCIEX software can be found by accessing “Managing Security for Analyst® Software on Stand-Alone Windows 7 Workstations.”
Formulating strong passwords is a fundamental requirement for safe data collection and one of the first steps in developing a security policy that lowers the risk of a security breach. Effective password design must be complex enough to prevent brute-force hacking and password guessing, and a customized framework for strong password creation in the Local Security Policy (Figure 1) can be implemented allow control of your system security based on your lab’s unique quality system needs:
Figure 1: Password policy settings in the Local Security Policy in Analyst® Software
Hackers may repeatedly endeavor to access a data system with a known username by guessing the associated password. Within Analyst® Software security features, the Account Lockout Policy can prevent unauthorized system infringement by freezing further login attempts if unfamiliar password entry exceeds the specified threshold for login errors. Additionally, failed account login attempts are recorded in the Windows Security Event Log, which can be reviewed periodically and investigated as needed by system administrators.
Altering the system clock can facilitate data falsification, and preventing changes to the system date, time, and time zone provides the necessary security to prevent data integrity violations. System administrators can adjust settings within Analyst Software so that access to the system clock is restricted to only selected individuals.
Sensitive information can be disclosed to unauthorized individuals when sanctioned users leave workstations unattended even for brief periods of time. To protect against accidental system access during idle times, the Windows screen saver can be automatically configured to lock the computer after a period of inactivity (usually after 15 minutes), requiring users to re-enter login information before resuming work.
To validate and authenticate system-generated data, system administrators use Windows user groups to assign selected users to discrete data-access roles, which can limit or restrict a user’s interaction with selected data processes. Individual users can be allocated to one of the four types of roles (listed in Table 1) in Analyst Software and the associated Windows user group, so that access to information can be well-regulated.
|Role||Description||Windows User Group|
|Administrator||Analyst® Software administrator||Analyst_Administrator|
|Analyst||Analyst Software user who creates methods, acquires, processes, and reports data||Analyst_Analysts|
|Operator||Analyst user who operates instrument and acquires data. Does not create or modify methods, process or analyze data||Analyst_Operators|
|QA Reviewer||Quality assurance representative who reviews data||Analyst_QA_Reviewers|
To prevent the devastating loss of valuable mass spectrometry data, whether accidental or deliberate, requires regulated access to a system’s data files. File privileges can be set that restrict data folder accessibility for individual users, reducing the possibility of accidental overwrites or intentional deletions. In fact, 21 CFR Part 11 requires that electronic records be protected from any possible deletion events, mandating secure file system controls for data collection during quality control experiments. System administrators can assign file privileges using the Windows User Groups, and some suggested privileges for various Analyst Software user roles are shown in Table 1.
For more information on securing your mass spectrometry workstation to maintain data integrity and compliance, download “Managing Security for Analyst Software on Stand-Alone Windows 7 Workstations.”
|Permission||Analyst Administrators||Analyst Analysts||Analyst Operators||Analyst QA Reviewers||Everyone|
|Traverse folder/execute file||x||x||x||x||x|
|List folder/read data||x||x||x||x||x|
|Read extended attributes||x||x||x||x||x|
|Create files/write data||x||x||x||x||x|
|Create folders/append data||x||x||x||x||x|
|Write extended attributes||x||x||x||x||x|
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