Blog

Life Science Single Sign-On: The Prescription for Identity Pain

Posted by: Charlie Steele April 30, 2019 Life Sciences

You’ve been asked to participate in another clinical trial.  At first, you feel the euphoria of helping prove the efficacy of a groundbreaking new treatment that offers the potential to relieve suffering and even save lives.  Then, your head begins to hurt as you realize this means you’ll have yet another username/password or similar credential to track, maintain, and keep secure.

You know the drill.  Every sponsor has its own systems, applications, and data, along with processes and procedures for accessing them.  In fact, that’s often the case for trials overseen by different divisions or organizations within the same sponsor.  Odds are, you’re juggling 10, 20, or even as many as 50 active, unique credentials at a time.

This approach intends to best protect the intellectual property and sensitive and personal information associated with each clinical trial.  In fact, it does just the opposite – it actually raises vulnerability, reduces security, and puts data at risk.

Think about it.  What do you do when it comes to usernames and passwords?  Do you replicate them whenever you are allowed?  Do you write them down on Post-It notes that you stick on your desktop or in your notebooks?  Do you rely on a password vaulting solution that easily can be cracked and expose every one of your credentials?

Best case, you’re a superstar who either has a photographic memory or who is uber-vigilant with respect to keeping this information safe.  Even then, you sacrifice efficiency.  That slows progress by keeping you from doing the job for which you were hired, and speed remains one of the most important components of the drug development process.

Worst case, you’ve inadvertently opened the door to compromise.  A credential in the wrong hands can lead to patient identity theft, data tampering that falsifies trial results, or the loss of billions of dollars due to delays or countermeasures by your sponsor’s competitors.

Don’t worry, there’s an antidote to the credentialing headache.  It’s called single sign-on.  Here’s how it works.

You get a single credential.  It might be something as simple as a username and password.  More likely, it’s something stronger that you receive at the conclusion of an identity proofing process, like a token or even an app for your mobile phone.  You present your credential to an identity management platform, which acts as a front gate or portal to the systems, applications, and information which reside behind it.  Once the platform recognizes and accepts your credential, you have access to all of the assets to which you have been granted permission by the owners of those assets – across multiple trials and sponsors.

It’s that easy.  Your productivity and security, as well as those of clinical trials as a whole, both skyrocket, because you always use the same single credential, even as your responsibilities and workload change as trials begin, execute, and end.

Single sign-on isn’t science fiction; it’s science that’s happening today.  Exostar’s Identity Platform brings together a community comprised of half of the 20 largest global pharmas, along with tens of thousands of organizations that support them, from contract research organizations and academic institutions to clinical trials sites and individual investigators.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals possess an Exostar Identity, which serves as their single sign-on credential to the community, much like a passport acts as a universally-accepted identifier.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  The Exostar community grows every day.  We can’t wait for you to join us.  So, go ahead, accept that invitation to participate in another clinical trial.  We’ve got you covered.