The journey to the Cloud has been the biggest, and most popular, technology trend in the last decade. For organizations world-wide seeking to increase their efficiency, agility, and flexibility while containing cost, the Cloud offers a gamut of possibilities to transform, digitize, and modernize.
Too often, however, marketing literature makes Cloud Transformation appear monolithic and simple. Though the available tools and technologies make this transformation possible for almost any organization, proper planning must be done to ensure a smooth journey. As this planning is crucial to each organization’s journey to the Cloud, it must focus on the specific needs of the organization. There is no generic formula for a plan that will work for all organizations, they must be personalized to fit the different needs of each organization.
The most apparent instance of this “difference” in planning regards companies in different vertical industries. With vastly different business models, business processes, legislative and compliance regimes, and scales of consumer interaction, companies differ a great deal from vertical to vertical. To accommodate these differences, a good Cloud strategy must consider the differing “last mile.” While there are commonalities and generalities in the decision to embark on the Cloud journey, the plan to get there and the implementation of that plan must focus on what matters most.
Medical and Health Industry
One of the industries which experiences extensive differences in Cloud planning approaches across organizations is the Medical & Health industry. It is clear that the Cloud can offer great value to this industry. An integral part of the overall economy with a huge social impact, the Medical industry should be at the forefront of tech-intensity and innovation. Advances in medicine perform the most important of all endeavors, saving and improving lives. Applying technological sophistication to this most noble of tasks is incredibly important. Remote accessibility, cost flexibility, sharing and collaboration, and a variety of other benefits and workloads underscore the deep pull of the Cloud on Medicine and Health in general.
With great benefits comes great responsibility, and inherent risk. As important as this industry is, it is the target of hackers. Such a large industry is also susceptible to innocent error. In both cases, the payload unleashed can be massive: Patient records, highly confidential personal information, medical-trial data, and other “assets” can be stolen, manipulated, and erased. In the medical industry, security is not just a matter of business risk, financial loss, or compliance breach; it’s a matter of life and death.
So, the single most important piece of the Cloud journey in Medicine and Health is Cloud Security and its cousin, Data Security. Planning and adapting best practices to the specific needs of the industry is crucial.
“In the medical industry, security is not just a matter of business risk, financial loss, or compliance breach; it’s a matter of life and death.”
Healthcare Informatics predicts that approximately $10B/year will be spent on Cloud transformation in Healthcare by 2020. In addition, the same report suggests that the average healthcare provider puts on average 900 services in the Cloud. These amounts coupled with the complexity makes for an easy bounty for hackers. As such, medical records go for a premium on the black market, in effect putting a big “Hack me Now!” sign on medical organizations.
Planning from the Outset is a Must
While security issues and attacks are inherent and inevitable parts of digital business, many of these stem from inadequate attention placed on Cloud Security from the outset. In addition, many organizations think of Cloud Transformation as monolithic and binary versus as an ordered process by which workloads and assets are moved to cloud in a deliberate fashion.
Interestingly, the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, the governing compliance diktat for the industry, is very clear on the core issue at stake: the privacy and confidentiality of patient records and related data. With such a clear compliance regime in Medicine and Healthcare, the need to attend to Cloud Security is crucial, and lack of attention to the matter is tantamount to putting the entire enterprise at risk. Critical here is that the rule extends not only to organizations and systems within the “four walls” of the organization, but also to the entire set of partners and vendors who store, read, or deal in any way with patient records.
The Medical and Health industry is also one replete with troves of Intellectual Property. As such, these organizations are like “banks” in that they have vaults of value enticing hackers and other miscreants (internal and external) to “break in.” With a holistic security framework and proper security planning in the journey to the Cloud, the risk and impact of these can be mitigated.
In no industry is Cloud Security more important than in Medicine and Healthcare. It is not sufficient to pay this heed only after the fact. Planning from the outset is the only way to focus on what matters most. Gathering best practices and consulting with experts in the area is an investment well worth making in the exciting and profitable journey to the Cloud.
Akvelon has experience in Cloud Security and has proudly worked in the Medical and Health Industry for years. Let us help you focus on what matters during your Cloud journey.
Constantine Korovkin is the COO and Co-Founder of Akvelon. He is passionate about excellence in execution, building successful high-tech businesses, project management, exceeding clients and customers expectations in every way.