Mar 26

What data can I move to the cloud?

clouds (1 of 1)

Cloud computing definitely has a role in eHealth. In other industries, mid-size and large organizations now have some level of investment in the cloud, and what data is being stored in the cloud is growing steadily.   But like the other industry sectors, not everything should go to the cloud, and your Cloud strategy needs to be considered carefully. While the majority of the cloud market is still public, the emerging trend for the hybrid and private clouds may be a better option in a security conscious health sector.



3 things that cloud can help in eHealth

  • The cloud can be a more cost-effective model than running an on-premises data center.
  • Mobility with improvements in remote access; and scalability of cloud storage solution to manage ever-growing data storage.
  • Ensuring that data is kept secure and compliant, especially with the latest encryption technologies and continuous monitoring of security compliance in hybrid and private clouds.

3 major lessons we have learned about the cloud and eHealth

  • Check your cloud service provider’s service level agreement (SLA) especially in relation to performance and uptime guarantees, data security, and compliance.
  • Make sure you have a well thought out migration plan which takes into account your specific applications, has checkpoints and validation and most importantly well-defined acceptance criteria in place. The other direction is also important, that you can easily move your cloud services or data to either another vendor or back into your business for local management.
  • Make sure your cloud provider continuously monitors compliance and security and report on them to you.  Having a plan in place for reporting breaches which covers notification to affected individuals, appropriate regulatory authorities, and the media.

The main challenge will always be what data can I move to the cloud rather than which cloud provider. Regulations and legislations are imposed by the Cloud providers based on their location and where the data resides. Similar Healthcare information privacy and security legislation differ by type of data and location. In healthcare you need to make sure that your local policy, the national regulations and cloud providers regulation are not in conflict. With improvements in security technologies, hybrid and private clouds this is becoming less of an issue.

However, the challenge for what data can I move to the cloud, still remains, more in relation to access and performance.  Cloud outages that could lead to data loss or critical data for critical patients not being available, would have a greater influence on where you store patient’s healthcare Information or at least part of it locally.  The bottom line, your data or functionality that will move to the cloud cannot be business critical at this stage.


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