While professionals in every line of work face a great deal of pressure on a regular basis, perhaps nowhere is this feeling more prevalent than in health care, where employees are tasked with saving people's lives every day.
"Cloud computing has become far more popular in just the last half-decade."
To accomplish this, health facilities are reliant on a staggering volume of data, and they need smart and cost-effective ways of curating it all. For this reason, cloud computing has become far more popular in just the last half-decade, as it allows medical professionals a new way of maintaining and safeguarding vital information.
The rise of the cloud is just one of many ongoing trends that have revolutionized health care IT in recent years. Let's recap a few of them:
A need for speed (and low cost)
Health care firms are in a difficult bind – they're under a lot of pressure to deliver optimal care, but they don't usually have large budgets to do it with. Therefore, they need affordable solutions for doing all sorts of things with data – storing it, sharing it among co-workers on collaborative projects, safeguarding it against cyberattacks and natural disasters and so on. For handling all of this, the old legacy solutions won't cut it anymore.
The decline of physical IT assets
Realizing what they're up against, health organizations have begun shying away from physical assets for IT, such as big, bulky servers kept in-house for storing all of their data. Using tools like this is tremendously inefficient, both in terms of real estate and financial investment – one of the advantages of cloud computing is it offers a way to cut down on the space and money needed to govern IT.
Major money going toward cloud investment
For precisely this reason, companies in the health sector are devoting a great deal of money to cloud computing during this decade. The numbers are pretty staggering, according to a report by Transparency Market Research – the entire health cloud market had a value of $1.82 billion in 2011, but it's projected to reach $6.79 billion by 2018. The prevailing sentiment in health is that the cloud offers a solution to high costs and unwieldy technology solutions.
The predominance of IaaS solutions
Within the realm of "cloud," there are many subcategories – specific service models that determine how health firms take advantage of cloud computing. By far, the most popular model today is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model. Cloud IaaS providers allow health organizations to replace their old physical infrastructures (including all those servers and backup tapes) and replace them with an easy-to-use web application.
A crowded health IT marketplace
As health firms continue to delve into the cloud, they'll soon discover that the marketplace is diverse, with many cloud providers that offer a range of different services. Transparency Market Research found that no single player had more than a 10 percent share of the health cloud market. Companies will have a lot of options to choose from – and when they do, it would behoove them to opt for a cloud provider that offers elite disaster recovery services. This way, their data will always be kept safe against whatever threats come their direction.