Given the fact that healthcare data is doubling every year, medical institutions face a new challenge in terms of secure storage space. It is becoming increasingly difficult to manage rapidly growing data on traditional informational technology (IT) systems. The need to store such a huge amount of sensitive data is gradually pushing the healthcare industry to look for viable and secure alternatives, like cloud services.
A cloud storage system allows health IT companies and organizations to place their data on the available system of worldwide networks. This data is accessible and retrievable from any setting with data access. Naturally, the cloud computing has facilitated the healthcare industry by providing effective data storage space which has resulted in improved health and patient care. However, serious concerns have surfaced about the safety of cloud computing services. Is cloud storage safe?
Since the cloud storage system stores sensitive healthcare data, it is important to ensure safety from hacking and unauthorized access. There are laws that govern the handling of sensitive data by storage systems such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). According to the HIPAA, any vendor or business that deals with medical data has to ensure its security. Cloud storage services, amongst others, have to comply with the HIPAA rules and regulations. Non-compliance can result in heavy fine i.e. up to $1.5 million dollars. In accordance with the HIPAA rules, cloud service providers are legally bound to enforce stringent security policies to ensure safety of sensitive and confidential healthcare data.
Businesses that deal with sensitive data need to be on guard. They need to ensure that the cloud service is in accordance with HIPAA requirements, particularly one that requires data encryption. According to the HIPAA, there should not be any clear text data stored on cloud services. Your cloud service provider must deploy robust encryption methods to provide safety from hacking, cyber attacks, unauthorized access and unlawful surveillance. Encryption ensures that even if hackers manage to hack into the system, they won’t be able to decrypt sensitive information.
If you are considering moving your healthcare organization’s data to the cloud or already have the data on one of its storage systems, you can adopt the following measures to ensure safety:
1. Always choose a reliable and certified cloud provider. Force.com, SpiderOak, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services provide encrypted data storage space in compliance with the HIPAA laws. Choose carefully.
2. Consider building a strong detection system in your organization to fend off cyber and security attacks. Proactive monitoring by trained staff can minimize the risks of security breach. Experts recommend setting up alerts for suspicious or malicious activity and building a strong security barrier.
3. It is highly recommended that you catch up with the legal and technical updates that prescribe how to improve cloud services.
Practo Ray uses HIPAA-compliant Virtual Private Servers inside the Amazon Cloud with multiple data backups. We closely monitor the servers where your data is saved and our robust alerting systems keep them strongly firewalled – which means that your data is really safe with us.