The healthcare industry, like many data-intensive industries, is changing rapidly, and that includes how healthcare providers manage, store, retrieve and protect mountains of sensitive information. Increasingly healthcare IT managers are turning to cloud solutions and services; it’s a trend that promises only to increase as data management needs expand and IT experts require effective, state-of-the-art tools to handle increased quantities of data.

It’s a subject that Hal Schwartz, CEO of Secure Information & Services, knows intimately. Mr. Schwartz insists that IT professionals in data-critical industries like healthcare look closely at their cloud services provider to ensure that they choose one that treats their data like a patient — with the utmost care. In fact, in a recent article entitled, “7 Tips To Ensure Healthcare Customers’ Cloud Transitions Go Smoothly,” Mr. Schwartz points out that there are specific steps that healthcare IT managers can take to make migrating to the cloud as flawless and efficient as possible, all while remaining HIPPA compliant, a necessity in healthcare today.

Data center availability, Mr. Schwartz explains, is no small consideration in terms of data security and protection. He cautions that a tier-one data center offers insufficient capacity components and guarantees only 99 percent uptime, leaving data vulnerable to hours of downtime. For a data-critical industry like healthcare, Mr. Schwartz stresses, a three-tier data center, with dual-powered equipment and multiple uplinks that equates to only eight minutes of downtime monthly, is absolutely essential. Moreover, Mr. Schwartz adds, healthcare IT professionals need to ensure that their cloud provider supports multiple bandwidth providers to avoid a slowdown in system response times should a data link reach capacity. The provider should also guarantee specific performance minimums per gigabyte or terabyte, he notes.

Data residency, or the physical location where data is stored, is also a major consideration for healthcare IT managers. According to Mr. Schwartz, problems can arise should a natural disaster occur and the backup location is in close proximity to the native location. Choosing a provider with a presence throughout the U.S. can ensure a safe distance between storage centers, which protects data. In addition, he notes, it’s crucial to select a data provide who allows customers to scale up or out depending upon data storage needs. Making sure the provider features enterprise-level storage offering increased storage capacity with quality of service tools will go a long way toward protecting the customer’s data more thoroughly.

Lastly, Mr. Schwartz points out, it’s imperative to healthcare IT managers that moving their data to the cloud is done methodically, safely and logically, with as few pitfalls as possible. Migration services typically occur in three phases — planning, migration, and operation; it’s during the migration phase when problems can arise. To forestall any loss of data, Mr. Schwartz strongly recommends choosing a cloud provider that offers and supports cloud migration tools, which allow users to operate both on-premises and on the cloud simultaneously, while data is being migrated. This prevents lost productivity and downtime.

To read the full article featuring SIAS CEO Hal Schwartz, please visit: 7 Tips to Ensure Healthcare Customers’ Cloud Transitions go Smoothly