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Should Hospitals Manage their Data Centers?

By CIOReview | Wednesday, August 14, 2019

With cloud-based alternatives that offer cost savings and increased security, on-site data centers have become outdated to use.

FREMONT, CA: According to the latest research, the healthcare cloud computing market is expected to develop at a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent by 2022. Healthcare organizations are considering how best to keep their data centers as the industry continues to expand: on-site or in the cloud?

Every organization, for their health system or hospital, questions the right size of their data center. In contrast to anything in the physical data center, there is increasing interest in the cloud or hybrid-based solutions. The benefits of physical data centers still exist. They give organizations control over every aspect of that data center through security measures and the type of technology that employees can use to access the data physically.

Both on-site and cloud alternatives provide essential advantages; healthcare organizations need to assess which option makes the most sense to them.

Physical Data Centers vs. Cloud Solutions

Physical data centers have higher performance speeds typically, whether located on campus or attached to local networks. This is useful for things like archiving pictures and communication technologies that are used to store and share medical imaging.

Physical data centers consulting are also needed for hospitals still running legacy applications designed for local use only. In addition to on-site data centers, cloud technologies always make some hospitals uneasy, even with their approved use for protected health information. There's still an internal panic over cloud computing solutions, what you can do, and what you can't do.

But cloud solutions give too many advantages to be overlooked, such as flexibility and fast scalability to satisfy instant company requirements better. A cloud-based solution enables them to boost their computing capacity efficiently with a phone call and a pen stroke to meet new requirements. And instead of attempting to imagine the need for future information when constructing a physical center organization, they can purchase what they need now and then scale up when required. This has led many healthcare systems to assess what they can do with the significant quantity of physical room available after completing a data migration.

There is an option to turn physical data center located within a hospital into revenue-generating space instead of space that costs cash to the organization.

Cloud Strategy Must Not Be Overlooked

Despite the advantages, organizations should not jump into the cloud. Migrating to the cloud will not solve all the information issues of an organization, and it will not safeguard them from all threats to cybersecurity. Healthcare organizations need to look beyond merely "HIPAA-certified" suppliers to protect themselves. Organizations need to ask suppliers whether they comply with other federal privacy laws and local regulations, and examine carefully what the service-level agreement covers. This agreement does not relieve organizations of their obligations of carrying out their risk assessment of this solution and where the vulnerabilities exist. Nor does it prevent phishing of staff or phishing of vendor staff hooked into healthcare devices. Organizations should develop a robust cloud strategy to prevent such attacks and remain alert to threats that are evolving.

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Advantages of Hybrid Cloud Storage

With both on-site and cloud management benefits, the future is likely to be hybrid. In the near future, hospitals and health systems will always involve some information presence, if for no other reason than hosting network infrastructure devices to link themselves to the cloud vendor. Cost savings are being seen in hospitals that have already introduced hybrid alternatives. Ultimately, running these applications in Azure costs tens of thousands of dollars per year, compared to making that massive investment in capitals.

And introducing the required hardware and software into the data center would have cost $1.2 million. The hybrid cloud approach has enabled to move workloads back and forth into the public cloud.

Hybrid solutions also have a significant advantage in terms of flexibility. Organizations could transfer data from this platform to a low-cost cloud storage service for data archiving and long-term backup, and then move it back to the premises if necessary.

Healthcare organizations can find an infrastructure that fits their needs while offering scalability, flexibility, and cost savings by taking a closer look at evolving cloud architectures.