Healthcare Data Cloud Hosting: Risks and Outlook

Submitted by admin on Wed, 07/01/2015 - 19:06

data cloudWith the coming of cloud hosting comes also an entirely new way of managing protected health information (PHI). Cloud hosting does come with its own set of risks, but it also means for tremendous potential in how healthcare facilities can organize, access, and secure PHI. Here is what you need to know about how healthcare facilities should approach switching over to cloud-based systems, what risks are associated, and what the overall outlook of these cloud systems is.


Finding the right provider


Hiring a HIPAA cloud provider is, of course, an important step in establishing a secure healthcare data management system, but hiring a provider doesn’t preclude you from surveying your own needs for health compliance. Performing your own HIPAA assessment before selecting a cloud provider is essential in order to understand where system vulnerabilities lie, so that you might better be able to select a provider that will take care of your information protection needs. Then when selecting a provider, it’s important to look deep into cloud service business associate agreements so that you can fully understand how your provider will protect your sensitive data. Any provider that offers only the minimum infrastructure is sure to leave you with gaps that will make for a weak healthcare data system overall. This agreement will also typically outline what your own responsibilities will be with regard to protecting sensitive data, so it is important to read it carefully.


Understanding the risks


Cloud hosting offers a great deal of convenience in the healthcare world, but it doesn’t come without its own risks. Again, switching to a HIPAA compliant cloud hosting system for managing PHI does not in itself offload liabilities. This means that you need to understand the risks in your own data center before engaging with a particular provider. Any risks that are left unaddressed could result in a breach in your system, resulting in potentially millions of dollars in payout damage and, even more detrimental, a tarnished image.


Finding balance with cloud hosting


Cloud hosting for PHI is still relatively new, which means that healthcare facilities are still adapting to their conveniences and drawbacks. Cloud hosting, for example, does offer the potential for being able to access records quickly, but if security measures are so high that providers cannot access these records in an emergency, then that potential benefit is overshadowed. Overall, however, cloud hosting seems to be making protecting PHI simpler and more secure than ever.