Ensuring the safety of the production process for food and beverage, and pharmaceutical companies has become more critical because of its potential impact on human safety. There is an expectation that balances are not only accurate weighing instruments but also networked workstations and data collection points that offer system and data integrity protocols. In order to preserve the integrity of captured data, while offering the ability to customize weighing applications and create accurate print records, there is a need to offer user-controlled access and passwords to satisfy both of those market demands.
User Management and Access Control
With the newly released EX2.20 software update, OHAUS EXPLORER Series balances offer a role-based user management system that prevents unauthorized changes and four levels of administrative control.
- Administrator (1)
- Supervisor (maximum of 10)
- Operators (100)
- Log Viewing (2)
is granted full access to balance settings and functions including the creation of all user accounts, access control, the ability to export log files for data traceability, print settings, and application mode customization.
are granted similar access but are unable to change sensitive device settings that might compromise its use when connected to the company network. Any member of the supervisory group has the ability to set up the balance to avoid delays in the production process.
are granted access to the balance for standard weighing applications, but are not permitted to change balance settings.
grants access to external auditors who require the ability to review the system log. This level of administrative access restricts the ability of auditors to change balance settings and only permits review of the system log file.
The enhanced user management system allows an administrator to create up to 110 user accounts and assign them to 1 of 4 pre-existing groups with access rights to the balance.
In a multi-user environment, data integrity and the ability to create user passwords with pre-set expiration dates is essential. Explorer Series balances offer comprehensive password administration to increase the level of security.
- Complex Password Policy: The password is requried to contain at least eight characters and include a combination of numbers and letters to ensure that each user has a distinct password to protect against unauthorized changes or attempts to compromise or alter weighing data, balance settings, or the library.
- Password Validity Policy: Administrators can preset how long users can utilize a password before they are required to change it; with 30, 60, and 90-day durations before the user is reminded to create a new one.
- Auto Log-out Function: This prevents unauthorized use of accounts. After a balance has been in idle mode for a pre-set amount of time defined by the administrator, it will automatically go into standby mode. This will prevent unauthorized access in a scenario where an operator forgets to log out after completion of a task.
Five analysts have access to one Explorer balance in a Quality Control laboratory, with a single Quality Assurance Manager. An external auditor visits the company periodically, to review the production process.
In order to control access to the balance and assure data integrity, the QA Manager creates an account for the lab manager in the role of ‘Supervisor’ and allows him/her to create access for the five analysts under the ‘Operator’ category.
To prepare two types of samples, the lab manager creates libraries to differentiate sample information and other parameters. The other analysts weigh the sample by recalling the information in the library created by the supervisor. To ensure the integrity of the data, the QA Manager creates a Log Viewer account for the auditor. The auditor only has access to this data.
System Log and Traceability
During the quality control process, numerous changes are made on balances which are important to the final results; including the creation of new user accounts, changes to balance settings, performed calibrations, and the confirmation and export of results which need to be properly stored in an un-editable electronic format.
The Explorer Series balances record and store accurate system log records in the internal memory. No additional PC software is required. The log file contains the date and time of each record, along with the user ID and a record of their actions. See the example in the attached image.
Backup Log Files
Explorer Series balances can store up to 5000 log records. Once the system reaches its maximum capacity, the Administrator and Supervisors are alerted via a message on the display screen and they can remove the stored log records with a USB flash dive.
Log file records stored on the balance cannot be overwritten or deleted without creating a backup file on a USB flash drive. The administrator or supervisor group can review records on balance and export the log file any time.
- The line manager discovers a problem with a batch of weighing results that were recorded two days prior. He makes the decision to ascertain if this was an error with the manually created handwritten results, or a problem with the weighing instruments.
- Because the line manager is part of the supervisor group, he has the ability to access the system log and check the previous records on that particular day/time. In a matter of moments, he is able to verify that the weighing results are accurate and that the discrepancy was because of human error transcribing the results manually.
- During a routine audit, it is discovered that an operator set a minimum-weight in the balance settings. The auditor required information to determine which user group the operator was assigned to and did that individual have the access rights to change such an important balance setting.
The auditor was able to access the balance as a Log Viewer. He was able to scroll and search the log record and discover who created the operator account and to which group he was assigned.
Learn more about Explorer Series balances and the EX2.20 software update