– Despite a previous reluctance to put sensitive data in the cloud, healthcare IT pros now see cloud computing as a way to improve their data security and compliance posture.
That is one conclusion of a survey of 108 IT pros conducted by Datamation.
In fact, 25 percent of respondents said their top priority for their cloud strategy in the year ahead is to improve security and compliance.
The cross-industry survey supports an observation made by Mike Jude, digital health research manager at Frost & Sullivan, during a recent interview with HITInfrastructure.com.
“For a long time, in healthcare there was a deep distrust about the cloud, because you’re taking PHI [protected health information], and you’re placing it in a cloud environment that you don’t directly control,” Jude observed.
“I’ve talked to a lot of healthcare providers, and the sense now is that you’re putting your data in a repository where you can actually control performance by contract,” he said.
Cloud vendors are guaranteeing a certain level of security. “So you can have a cloud provider now who is applying cybersecurity standards in a HIPAA-compliant way,” Jude said.
Cutting Costs Is a Priority for Cloud Computing
A full 29 percent of respondents to the Datamation survey said that cutting costs was the top priority for their cloud strategy in the year ahead, 19 percent of respondent said using cloud to access tools for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, or big data was a top priority, 10 percent said that streamlining management was a top priority, and a similar percentage said that adding to mobility deployments was a priority.
Close to half of respondents said they expect their budget for cloud computing to increase by 10 percent to 25 percent over the next one to two years. Another 14 percent said they expect their budget to increase by 25 percent to 50 percent, and 7 percent expect their budget to soar by more than 50 percent.
At the same time, 30 percent said they expect their cloud computing budget to stay the same or decrease.
More than two-thirds of respondents said that the applications they put in the cloud are mission critical, which is a significant increased from the early days of the cloud, when only peripheral applications went into the cloud, Datamation observed.
Use of Multicloud Computing on the Increase
The survey also found that the use of multicloud is increasing significantly due to concerns about vendor lock-in and a wish to mix and match vendor tools, such as AI, machine learning, and big data analytics.
A majority of respondents said they use two or more cloud providers, with 23 percent using three or more providers.
A recent HITInfrastructure.com feature identified a number of multicloud benefits for healthcare organizations: avoiding vendor lock-in, overcoming latency, mitigating risk, providing flexibility, and controlling costs.
Healthcare IT pros need to decide which multicloud capabilities they require, such as single pane of glass management, which integrates information from different sources across multiple applications and environments into a single display; network connectivity; workload motion across clouds; cloud storage and archiving; identity federation; workload bursting; backup and disaster recovery; and application programming interface integration.
“A multicloud strategy gives you a single pane of glass to identify and monitor the data in your various clouds,” explained Dave Dimond, chief technology officer and distinguished engineer at Dell EMC’s Global Healthcare Business.
“If you have something that ties all those threads together for you, then you can start moving workloads, see what’s available, and manage the temperature and flow of data. If you’re in IT and you have a service catalog, you can provision across multiple clouds based on policy,” Dimond said.