Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Cloud computing services are secure

When healthcare organizations consider a move to cloud computing, their biggest concern is often the security of protected health information and other sensitive data that may be held by a third party. However, a new survey says those worries might be a little overblown. 

There’s a significant difference between the concerns stated by healthcare providers that aren’t using cloud computing services and the experiences of organizations that have made the move to the cloud, according to a recent report from research firm KLAS.

When asked about their biggest concerns regarding cloud computing, 66% of healthcare providers not currently using any cloud services listed security. That was the top concern of survey respondents by a significant margin, ahead of:

  • Reliability and up-time (cited by 38% of providers)
  • Loss of control over applications and data (17%)
  • Costs (9%), and
  • Integration with current infrastructure (2%).

However, the organizations actually using cloud computing services had far fewer worries about protecting data in the cloud. On average, those healthcare providers gave their cloud computing vendors a 4.5 out of 5 when asked to rate them in terms of IT security.

Questions to ask cloud computing vendors

Of course, that doesn’t mean every cloud computing vendor gets high marks for security. When healthcare organizations choose a cloud computing service, it’s important to thoroughly vet the vendor before signing a contract.

Here are some of the questions healthcare providers can ask cloud vendors to see how their security practices stack up against the competition:

  • What policies and procedures are in place to protect the physical data center, and how does the company vet employees who have access to clients’ data?
  • What technology is used to keep one client’s data separate from others’ on multi-tenant servers?
  • What encryption protocols does the vendor use to protect data in transit and at rest?
  • What’s the procedure for notifying customers of a data breach?
  • What availability guarantees are offered and what penalties are assessed if they aren’t met?

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