Managed cloud services

Cloud Computing: Safe for Healthcare

July 5, 2017

“By 2020, cloud will be where secure and trusted IT services live, due in large part to the proliferation of cloud-based encryption, threat analytics, behavior analytics, blockchain, and compliance services.” 

IDC “Cloud Evolves to Cloud 2.0”

Healthcare has traditionally been slow to embrace models used in other business settings. The industry was relatively late to the table for big data, marketing analytics, and now, cloud computing. There are a number of reasons why this has occurred:

  • The sheer size of their multi-state disparate behemoth enterprises. These organizations are filled with multi-vendor legacy platforms that are unwieldy in today’s digital frameworks – but also difficult to migrate.
  • Concerns about security and compliance reinforced slowed adoption of cloud computing models in the healthcare space.
  • Too, healthcare has been reluctant to embrace cloud computing because these organizations have traditionally been less concerned about their bottom lines and more focused on serving patients. With declining reimbursement, hospitals have been forced to embrace the business of medicine. But there is still debate in healthcare circles about mission verses margin. Specifically, is healthcare about the mission to serve patients or the margins of the business?

Increasingly, healthcare providers understand that healthcare is not only about the mission to provide quality healthcare but also, it’s about running the business of medicine.

This is why the promise of cloud computing is so important to the organizations. Cloud computing has moved past the toddler phase into more mature, stable, and secure frameworks that offer hospitals an affordable, scalable option for data storage. IoT sensors allow hospitals the flexibility to safely monitor patients while at home, with the cloud as a conduit for important patient data.

More and more hospitals are using cloud computing models to further the mission of their facilities by providing better treatment options. At the same time, these agencies are improving their financial margins by saving money in the cloud.

Old School CMIOs versus the Cloud 2.0 Models

We know there are old school CMIOs who still feel nervous and uncertain in the cloud. They say that cloud computing interferes with true network security, and data should remain on-premise behind a firewall. If your hospital CMIO is suggesting this, your organization will rapidly fall behind. IDC predicts that by 2020 public cloud services will make up 58% of the total global business cloud expenditures of $355 billion.

Request a quote or call us to find out if your organization is ready to migrate to the cloud.

Enterprise organizations are moving to the cloud en mass; that is because cloud computing is more distributed, with stronger security in place to handle today’s cyber threats:

  • Encryption scrambles the content of data in the cloud. A decryption key deciphers it, so that authorized viewers can access the data.
  • Threat Analytics monitor the network constantly for suspicious activities. Cloud providers offer behavioral analytics and advanced machine learning for always-on security.
  • Behavioral Analytics monitor the transactional behaviors occurring in your network. Today’s cloud computing providers’ use sophisticated algorithms to continuously monitor business processes and in a millisecond, make a determination of risk based on user behaviors.
  • Blockchain has traditionally been the data behind a financial ledger entry that ensures its integrity. Cloud computing providers are working on a process to apply blockchain across data transmitted in the cloud. It has real implications for audit logging data transactions, which is helpful for regulatory compliance. Currently, IBM is working on bringing this to cloud computing models.
  • Compliance is typically addressed as part of a BAA with a cloud service provider. This is one of the reasons HIT Infrastructure says, “Cloud computing is expected to become the healthcare IT infrastructure standard in the coming years…” Cloud computing is cloud compliance, and it can be HIPAA-compliant on the back end all the way to patient-centric mobile apps.

Glenn Weinstein of Appirio said it best in an IDG article, where he was quoted as saying, “2017 will increasingly see cloud migration as a risk mitigation strategy. Delegating industrial-strength security to major cloud providers such as Amazon and Google will be seen as safer, and more scalable, than continuing to invest in corporate network perimeter defense.”

The revolution of cloud computing has moved data beyond on-premise data centers and into the cloud. There are more cost benefits and increased flexibility for the modern day healthcare provider in the cloud. Healthcare organizations will no longer be held back by hardware limitations and will spend less money on infrastructure.

So is the cloud safe for healthcare? Evidently, most healthcare providers have gone with the evidence; an HIMSS Analytics survey shared that 83% of IT executives are using some form of cloud service today.

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