Here is the third and final example of a 'must have' SOP' which should be in place for any laboratory performing HPLC analysis.
Part 3 of 3:
Routine Backup of HPLC Data, Methods And Related Data:
Another area which is often overlooked and can have disastrous consequences when ignored relates to regular software backups. Successful management of analytical instruments requires that all of the software which is required to operate and maintain them on a daily basis is safely backed up. This should include any needed patch files, hot-fixes or service packs too. Separate copies of all key software applications and licenses should be stored off-site, in a safe location where they can be assessed if and when needed by authorized individuals. This location may be another office location or even a home. It might even be located on a separate computer server or on the 'cloud'. However, for it to be a safe location, it must be off-site and protected from loss due to a hard-drive crash, data corruption, flood, fire, theft, earthquake or other disaster.
- Regular backups (automated are best!) of all acquired data, methods and related information needed to restore the data should be performed on a daily basis. Backups must also be tested and verified on a periodic basis (if you do not verify them, how do you know that they work?). Verification also serves to train you how to restore damaged data or software which is something that you do not want to learn how to do when you actually need it for the first time.
- You may also wish to address the use of suitable electrical power backup modules (UPS) to protect the computers used to acquire data from and run methods from power outages or surges. An article which addresses this topic can be found at this, "Power and Surge Protection for Computers & Analytical Instruments (e.g. Uninterruptible Power Supply AKA UPS)" LINK.
- SOP's describing Backup and Restoration of key Applications and Data should be created which detail the types of backups made, the frequency of backups, which applications and/or files are backed up, using which backup software products or applications, the
Make sure you have several people review the draft SOP's before approving. Sometimes what appears clear to you may in fact have a different meaning to someone else. Clear procedures should contain enough detail that people with different backgrounds will each carry out the procedure in the same manner. Often, these types of documents will go through many drafts and even after approved, should also be open to future suggestions to make them even better.