Managed service providers

What Medical Practices Should Look for in a Managed Service Provider

August 21, 2017

All forms of medical organizations are moving into the cloud. The cloud is a vast space, and the healthcare industry is seeing a rise in their IT expenditures. Managed service providers (MSPs) can help your healthcare institution with its day-to-day IT operations. MSPs can help your organization with consulting services, cybersecurity, cloud hosting, monitoring tools, disaster recovery, application managements, and much more.

Which Managed Service Provider is Best

The first thing to understand about an MSP is what its focus is. There are many different categories of IT support, and not all MSPs will offer every category. It is important to know what your provider has to offer, and better yet, what they specialize in. Larger healthcare companies are now using multiple providers. The reasons are to have specialists in several different areas and to make sure patient data is stored in multiple locations. Provider A may offer the best hosting services for your needs; however, provider B may support your disaster recovery plan. Don’t think you are limited to one service when there are so many to choose from. Find out more:

Managed Service Provider – What to Consider

When looking at which MSP will work best for you it is important to know what you are looking for. Talk to your IT manager and find out what services you would benefit from. Some options are listed below:

  • Response time is always at the top of the list – This is a biggie, but most MSPs will offer a 99.999% uptime. This is called the “five-nines.” This may seem like a good number, but if possible find an MSP that can do better. You really do want them to always be up.
  • Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) – Many businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. A DRP is a documented course of action to retrieve lost data in case of a disaster. How detailed your DRP is depends on the size of your healthcare facility. Several companies allocate the plan to someone in management, and there are several other employees that will take part in the DRP committee. This plan includes recovery practices against fires, floods, hackers, and many other possible disasters.
  • Manage and Monitor Performance – Monitoring software helps to determine if there are any parts of the network that are not working to their full potential. Advanced monitoring software can keep track of email, video and audio signals for video conferencing, database performance, and third-party application functionality. These monitoring systems have a cloud management platform (CMP) for IT personnel to watch, and can provide alerts if anything in the system is not working according to guidelines.
  • Compliance – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has a slew of compliance regulations that healthcare facilities must meet. In addition, the OAG has regulations for physicians, the handling of prescription drugs, and health boards. So, it is no surprise that there are regulations in place to monitor the security of electronic protected health information (ePHI). This is referenced in the HIPAA documentation, and managed service providers should be compliant with all HIPAA standards.

Depending on your particular situation, there may be other considerations, but the above list contains some of the most prominent issues healthcare organizations consider. Again, don’t be afraid to use multiple vendors if necessary to achieve the needs of your company.

Mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Mobility and the IoT is a growing market. Hospitals are integrating wireless technologies into several types of equipment, and every item has the potential to be hacked. Physicians and nurses may rely on their smart phones, tablets, or laptops to do work from home; again, all of these items are possible leaks when it comes to patient data. Security measures must be taken into account when using all of these devices. Hackers are not the only concern. Disgruntled employees, lost equipment and even solar flares can cause disruptions in service, or worse, the loss of data across wireless networks. Make sure your managed service provider has encryption based networking protocols in place to counter hackers. Real-time backups (or as close as it can get), and two-way authentication measure can help to prevent an unfavorable person from accessing lost equipment.

Other Considerations

Depending on the size of your healthcare facility, and the number of employees, there may be other criteria that managed service providers must meet. A hybrid infrastructure may require its own unique solutions, but it also makes it easier for companies to use multiple providers: one for the public cloud, and one for the private cloud. Virtualization may be a big part of your upcoming technology strategies. Virtualized service portals, servers, and desktops may require more bandwidth and memory than non-virtualized infrastructures. These are important considerations and you want to make sure to find a service provider that can keep up with the larger loads of virtualization. Download the white paper: Managed IT Services For Small Businesses.

The needs of your company can depend on so many different things. Talk to your IT team and find out exactly what they need to keep your healthcare facility ready for the future. Technology is forever changing; make sure your managed service provider can meet all the upcoming needs your company will require. Get a free assessment today and see how TOSS can help you take your company into the future.

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