- Organizations are rapidly adopting the cloud as its flexibility continues to prove its worth against the influx of clinical data and as cloud security measures improve. Many entities are more interested in a healthcare private cloud deployment over its public cloud counterpart because the private cloud gives IT administrators more control over the IT infrastructure environment.
After organizations choose to migrate selected clinical data to the healthcare private cloud, they are faced with two deployment options: on-premises private cloud and hosted private cloud. Organizations need to consider their existing health IT infrastructure, IT staff and expertise, and budget before committing to a particular type of private cloud computing.
Both types of private cloud solutions only offer their services to the organizations deploying it. Healthcare organizations often choose private over public cloud because they may be uncomfortable with hosting their data in the same place as data from other disparate organizations.
The private cloud offers many of the same benefits as the public cloud, but it gives organizations more control over their data because they do not need to consider other enterprises and organizations. The private cloud is also deployed within the organizations security protocols.
Benefits of private cloud
Private cloud can be deployed in one of two ways: organizations can build their own private cloud hosted in their own data center, or they can deploy their private cloud on a private sever hosted by a cloud service provider.
On-premises private cloud offers healthcare organizations security options that are very attractive especially when it comes to control over the network. This method of private cloud storage works well for larger organizations that have the IT staff and security expertise to add whatever security measures they find appropriate.
The control over on-premises private cloud allows organizations to deploy their own applications and adhere to any compliance issues. Organizations using private cloud deployed in their own data center have more control over HIPAA compliance and don’t have to rely on a vendor to ensure the cloud environment is HIPAA compliant.
The on-premises private cloud also gives organizations the ability to customize their cloud environment. Entities are not tied to whatever hardware of software a cloud service provider wants them to use.
Realizing the costs of private cloud
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On-premises hosted private cloud also has predictable costs because the hardware and software is all purchased by the organization. There are no adjusted fees depending on how much space is used month over month.
However, the initial cost of private cloud can be expensive.
Organizations many not have the initial capital to purchase all the necessary hardware and software. Entities also need to consider the cost of staff. The IT staff needed to manage and monitor a private cloud deployment will cost more because they need to have more experience and expertise to maintain the private cloud.
Organizations also have to consider how infrastructure technology is advancing and how often they will be able to upgrade their infrastructure to keep up. Entities may not be able to afford upgrades for advancing hardware which could cause their data center to become outdated.
Healthcare organizations also need to consider the complex management of the public cloud. There are many services provided by public cloud vendors that will need to be handled by in-house staff. Covered entities are also charged with adding additional capabilities to meet scale and resource demands.
The argument for hosted private cloud
Hosted private cloud offers many of the same advantages as private cloud, along with its own advantages and pitfalls.
Hosted private clouds are managed and maintained by the cloud service provider, but the hardware is dedicated to a single organization, meaning there is no other data on that server besides the organization paying for it. Entities using hosted private cloud have access to the hardware, but are not responsible for managing it.
Hosted private cloud offers increased security because no other organization is hosted in the same environment. However entities sacrifice complete control over their security features. IT has access to the hardware, but does not have control over it. This means the vendor has the last say in what security protocols are implemented.
Simplified management is one of the biggest arguments in favor of hosted private cloud. Entities don’t need to manage their own hardware, which cuts back on the more experienced and more expensive IT staff.
Organizations also don’t need to pay for their hardware and will likely have access to newer hardware as advancements are made in data storage. The cost of hosted private cloud is significantly lower than private cloud. However, it is also more than public cloud and may not be as scalable depending on the contract.
Both private cloud options are viable for healthcare because they give organizations dedicated hardware to host their cloud environments.
Hosted private cloud offers organizations a more cost effective private cloud, but control of the hardware is sacrificed.
On-premises private cloud gives organizations much more control over their environment, giving them the freedom to implement whatever software and security measures they see fit to protect clinical data.
Entities need to know what their resources are and what they are realistically capable of doing before deciding on which private cloud deployment will meet their needs.