The Scilife platform is set up in a virtual private cloud (scalable) in Amazon AWS.
It is a 3-tier platform, which basically means that the application servers, database servers and storage (files) are separated to make it possible to scale these out automatically when needed.
First of all, it is important to note that all data is encrypted at all times, both in transit (between your browser and the platform) and at rest (when data is stored).
For each of the 3 tiers, separate Amazon AWS services are used which include mechanisms to ensure data durability.
The Amazon AWS service used for this is Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). This is where the Scilife application runs, not where the data is stored.
Running application servers are automatically scaled out when there are peaks of demand (many users working with Scilife). This means that the system spins up as many virtual servers as needed during peaks of activity. Once the activity decreases and demand gets lower, the virtual servers are removed automatically.
The Amazon AWS service used for this is the Relational Database Service (RDS). This is where the Scilife databases sit.
Each customer has its own, separate databases. Actually, there is a separate database for each environment: TEST, VAL and PROD.
The PROD database servers (which is the only environment where you should store real data) is comprised of two separate, mirrored database servers (Multi-AZ) with automated backups every five minutes which are retained for 30 days.
To get more information regarding this AWS service (security, performance, durability, etc.), we recommend this page: https://aws.amazon.com/rds/details/
Note that, even if their RDS service fails (that is, over multiple regions as we have Multi-AZ active) we would still have the automated backups to recover all data.
The Amazon AWS service used for this is Simple Storage Service (S3)
This is where the files (documents, attachments, etc.) are saved. This is a highly scalable and durable object storage solution that provides a 99.999999999% guarantee of file durability. More information on this here: https://aws.amazon.com/s3/
This is impossible to accomplish in conventional data centers as Amazon AWS automatically copies files over several geographically separated data centers.
Lastly, we recommend taking a look at Amazon AWS’ compliance programs:
Besides their technical superiority as a cloud provider, compliance is another reason why Amazon AWS is still considered the best-in-class cloud provider according to Gartner’s magic quadrant.