Resource Security

PTP and CloudCheckr Support Life Sciences Research in the Cloud

With expertise in managing services for the life sciences sector, PTP partners with CloudCheckr to bring Voyager Therapeutics greater visibility and improved governance to the cloud as they research life-changing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

Achieved a 25.4% month-over-month cost reduction in customer cloud spend
Improved cloud security and compliance posture for highly regulated life sciences customers
Provide greater visibility into customers’ AWS environments to assist data analysis for life-changing research

Overview

Located in the Boston, MA, area, Pinnacle Technology Partners (PTP) is a managed service provider that specializes in planning, designing, implementing, managing, securing, and optimizing cloud technologies. PTP has strong expertise in the highly regulated life sciences and biotech industries, where security and compliance challenges are among the top concerns.

PTP works closely with Voyager Therapeutics, a clinical-stage gene therapy company in Cambridge, MA, that focuses on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases. Voyager relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and partners with PTP to help them manage their cloud spend, optimize performance, and ensure security and compliance as they continue their growth.

 

The Challenge

Voyager Therapeutics began working with PTP in the fall of 2019. They wanted to shift their IT infrastructure from the on-premise data center into the cloud. With Voyager’s growth over the last few years, the move to the cloud has helped them better manage their data and analyze vast image sets to advance their research in the field of adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy.

“We wanted to start building out in AWS in a secure, scalable, and repeatable way,” said Darren Tong, Head of Infrastructure, Architecture, and Information Security at Voyager. “We had no expertise in-house and looked to PTP to be that subject-matter expert in the life sciences space and in the AWS space to help us build a foundation that would start secure and continue to be secure.”

PTP has had years of proven success working with life sciences and biotech organizations. Additionally, they are one of just 13 companies worldwide with an AWS Life Sciences Competency, which they obtained in fall of 2019. That knowledge has been a value-add for Tong and his colleagues.

“It’s really important that we don’t have to explain some basic types of applications in the lab or the type of volume and diversity of the data,” said Yohann Potier, Voyager’s Director of Data Science & Informatics. “PTP has experience in the cloud and can map the right cloud application to life sciences use cases.”

PTP’s mission is to enable companies like Voyager Therapeutics to feel confident in their use of the cloud and deliver critical cost and usage insights. While their clients may use security features in AWS like Control Tower, PTP works to remove the complexity of AWS that can leave companies vulnerable to security and data breaches. As a managed service provider for the cloud, they need to show their clients insights that are easy for administrators to understand and give suggestions that they can implement with the push of a button.

“CloudCheckr allows me to monitor AWS and know how much we spend directly, so I can focus my attention somewhere else.”

 

Yohann Potier, Director of Data Science & Informatics, Voyager Therapeutics

The Solution

CloudCheckr is an integral part of PTP’s PeakPlus cloud managed services platform. The CloudCheckr CMx platform provides single-pane visibility into cloud environments to help MSPs lower their customers’ costs, optimize and automate resources, and maintain rigorous security and compliance standards.

“CloudCheckr provides valuable insights and information to customers like Voyager Therapeutics,” said Eric Ransden, Director of Account Services and Partner at PTP. “CloudCheckr CMx finds opportunities for cost optimization and includes robust features for billing and security best practices that we can bring to our customers.”

As a cloud-centric organization, PTP differentiates itself from other IT partners that offer cloud as an add-on only. CloudCheckr allows them to further set themselves apart with business-critical tools that support their clients’ cloud journeys.

“We want to work with partners that are helping us provide value to customers like Voyager,” said Ransden. “CloudCheckr is a huge enabler to us to help deliver that value.”

The combined expertise of PTP and CloudCheckr enables Potier to focus on his role as a data scientist and support Voyager’s research staff instead of tracking costs manually. “CloudCheckr allows me to monitor AWS and know how much we spend directly, so I can focus my attention somewhere else,” Potier said.

Gary Derheim, Vice President of Managed Services at PTP, explained that PTP takes advantage of CloudCheckr’s API, so that they can pull critical metrics into the PTP portal. Looking at these comparative metrics, without divulging any sensitive data, can give their clients a new perspective on performance.

“We’re seeing continued improvement with functionality and the ability for our DevOps team to leverage the CloudCheckr API,” said Derheim. “We can connect it to our portal and begin to automate some of the work that we’re doing, which means that for a lower cost I can deliver more value back to customers like Voyager. That’s a win for us and I think a win for the customer.”

 

The Results

Cost optimization has been a major result for Voyager, said Derheim. “In one month, we saw a 25.4% cost reduction in terms of month A to month B spend,” he explained. “With an ever-changing and growing cloud environment, we continue to do things like put Reserved Instances in play based on the recommendations from CloudCheckr.”

Derheim said he also identified five key areas to improve Voyager’s security and compliance governance based on recommendations from CloudCheckr. Tong and Potier were then able to make changes to address them and improve their security posture.

Voyager also has access to CloudCheckr, so that they have greater insight into their AWS resources. Tong said that he uses CloudCheckr once or twice a month, and PTP meets with him and Potier regularly to review the improvements that CloudCheckr suggests. With a lean team at Voyager, Tong explained that PTP and CloudCheckr make it easier to “see how secure and compliant we are and to see that we’re making progress.”

“What AWS, PTP, and CloudCheckr allow us to do is that we scale up what we do,” said Potier. “The needs of the life sciences industry are quite specific at times. In that case, having PTP translate and leverage the metrics from CloudCheckr and explain it to us is really important.”

The ability to scale will assist Voyager in its growth, which will require compliance with more rigorous industry regulations. Tong explained, “Knowing that PTP has that Life Sciences Competency and tools like CloudCheckr makes us feel comfortable that they understand the complexity, the urgency, and the detail that’s required at the beginning to build out the environment and help guide us so that there’s not a lot of re-work later as we move into that regulated and more audited use case.”

PTP and CloudCheckr have helped Voyager implement the right technology to scale their data analysis and continue their research into treatments for debilitating neurodegenerative conditions. The ability to scale is vital in Voyager’s mission to find answers.

“Voyager is working hard to deliver life-changing therapies for severe neurological diseases,” said Ransden. “They are working quickly to achieve results that will both change the industry and people’s lives.”

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