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Benefits of Healthcare Public Cloud Managed Service Providers

Organizations embracing the healthcare public cloud should consider managed service providers to help support HIPAA-compliant cloud environments.

healthcare public cloud

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- The demand for health IT infrastructure solutions that can scale to meet increasing data demands drives the need for flexible IT environments. The healthcare public cloud can help organizations scale up their infrastructure without breaking already restrictive budgets.

Applying the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model to the public cloud can give IT administrators a flexible environment that allows them to be more hands-on. Compared to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), IaaS gives IT staff more control over their environment.

Deploying an IaaS environment in the public cloud also relieves the financial pressure of hosting a private cloud environment.

Public cloud is the most scalable data storage solution. Storage space can be added or dropped as the size of an organization changes. This makes public cloud popular for temporary projects as well as data migration.

Public cloud is often paid for by a monthly subscription fee that entities can easily modify depending on how much space is needed. The fee-for-service model caters to organizations that cannot afford their own on-premises storage space or private cloud platform.

Organizations that are expanding their IT infrastructure, testing or migrating applications can benefit greatly from the public cloud’s flexibility.

Organizations also have the option to use the public cloud for testing purposes only before moving a healthcare app into the on-premises storage solution.

The public cloud IaaS market is mature as demand for this type of service model grows, according to research analyst firm Gartner. Organizations are demanding more involvement and capabilities from their managed service providers (MSPs) to support their growing IT infrastructure.

“Public cloud IaaS delivers compute, storage and network resources in a self-service, highly automated fashion,” said Gartner “The leading public cloud IaaS providers also offer PaaS capabilities and other cloud software infrastructure services as part of an integrated IaaS+PaaS offering. However, such services do not completely eliminate the need for IT operations management (ITOM).”

This model is especially applicable to the healthcare sector because of the support offered by third-party cloud service providers.

Many organizations do not have enough staff or expertise on hand to ensure that the public cloud they are using is HIPAA-compliant or remains HIPAA-compliant. Enlisting the help of an MSP can act as a cloud service broker.

These MSPs offer managed and professional services for infrastructure and platform operations. Many of the top MSPs have partnerships with the largest cloud services providers including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

MSPs can manage the compliance and interoperability between provider organizations and their public cloud service provider.

“A noticeable trend is that customers are making more uniform requests,” said Gartner. “Specifically, MSPs are reporting deals that consistently feature function platform as a service (fPaaS) and other serverless technologies, and application-level services like design and development.”

“Although you may consider your requirements to be more constrained, you should consider that most organizations that adopt public cloud infrastructure are quickly moving to embrace it more completely,” Gartner continued. “This requires a vendor with more capability than you may initially think is necessary.”

As organizations grow more dependent on the cloud and are putting more tools and data in the cloud, it’s more important to work with a vendor to help manage and monitor that data. Organizations cannot afford to mismanage data or have their IT staff become overwhelmed with management tasks when they could be focusing on something else.

Entrusting management and monitoring to MSPs takes strain off IT staff and gives the bulk of everyday responsibility to a qualified of-site team that is dedicated to ensuring that each organization’s cloud environment is operating smoothly and in compliance 100 percent of the time.

This gives IT administrators the opportunity to put their time and energy into improving the overall IT infrastructure instead of simply focusing on keeping everything afloat.

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