At the Core
5 February 15

A Healthy New Approach: Why Health Care Organizations Need Disaster Recovery Plans

Of all the industries out there managing large volumes of customer data, the health care sector might be the one where taking proper care of that data is most important. Physicians, nurses and health insurance organizations are curating personal information that literally has the potential to save people's lives. Keeping that information safe, secure and easily accessible is an absolute must.

"Whenever data is in the cloud, organizations need to think about disaster recovery."

For this reason, health organizations often turn to cloud backup strategies in order to safeguard critical data. Putting health care information in the cloud makes it easy for anyone to access it quickly – whether it's a doctor, an insurance agent or the patients themselves. In that industry, being able to access data just a few seconds quicker can make all the difference.

But of course, whenever data is in the cloud, organizations need to think about disaster recovery measures just as much as data velocity. Putting health information online is great, but what happens if data is put in jeopardy due to a weather incident, a tech malfunction or a human error? All parties involved need to have contingency plans in place.

Health care increasingly in the cloud
It's become clear in recent years that the trend of housing critical health care data in the cloud is one that's here to stay. Health Data Management reported on this growing movement, noting that 83 percent of IT executives in the field report that they're currently using cloud services, and another 9.3 percent say they plan to begin doing so in the near future.

Bob Bogle, senior vice president of health care IT organization En Pointe Technologies, told the news source there are numerous benefits to cloud adoption in health.

"Beyond the cost-cutting cloud model, other benefits now being reported are reflective of larger industry trends," Bogle explained. "One such trend is the widespread mergers and consolidation among providers that have made geographically disparate healthcare systems a common model. With EHRs now the industry standard, it's crucial that patient data is immediately accessible across clinic locations."

But of course, if health care data is going to be online, it needs to be protected. That's where disaster recovery services come into play.

"Disaster recovery as a service" on the rise
As cloud computing continually becomes an area of greater focus in health care, organizations are recognizing that they need safeguards for all that data. According to Enterprise Storage Forum, an increasingly popular strategy is the adoption of "disaster recovery as a service." Health care technology expert Kemal Balioglu told the news source that outsourcing DR is worthwhile because it helps companies manage their data using a scalable, affordable model.

Threats to your data are always out there.Threats to your data are always out there.

"Because DRaaS is easy to deploy and manage when compared with traditional non-cloud disaster recovery solutions, we can expect to see a rapid increase in adoption, particularly in the mid-market," Balioglu said.

The beauty of DRaaS is that it helps health care organizations leverage economies of scale, using exactly the levels of service that fit their operations. The future of cloud computing in health is one that's both technologically and fiscally sustainable.

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