There is a cost-effective way for smaller healthcare organizations to migrate their data to the cloud and still achieve HIPAA compliance. By using a HIPAA compliant public cloud hosting solution, startups and small companies can get a scalable, flexible environment that can grow with them while paying under a manageable pay-as-you-go pricing structure.
The main concern of a public cloud hosting solution for healthcare organizations is if the solution includes the strong safeguarding of protected health information (PHI) that’s required by HIPAA. This is a crucial question that must be answered because non-compliance carries stiff fines and breaches seem to happen on a regular basis. By law, all PHI must be in compliance with the HIPAA-HITECH safeguards for security and privacy, but most companies want the additional protection offered by industry best practices with more rigorous security measures.
How can healthcare organizations utilize public clouds?
There are cloud vendors who offer a broad range of services for protected PHI in a purpose-built HIPAA compliant public cloud hosting solution. This is the most cost-effective way for small, startup companies to take advantage of the enterprise level infrastructure offered by cloud providers without the cost of setting up a private cloud environment.
Healthcare organizations and companies regulated by HIPAA share an infrastructure with other companies that have the same HIPAA security and compliance requirements. This means that web, file, database and application servers, email servers, content management systems, regulated applications and software, and even testing or development servers can all be located on a public cloud that’s dedicated to HIPAA compliance. At ByteGrid, Healthcare companies don't share the same infrastructure as a non-regulated client would like a real estate agent's servers, for example.
With a public cloud hosting solution, you get a broad set of services in a HIPAA compliant cloud, like data migration, encryption, access control, backup and disaster recovery, firewalls, and more.
What is required to secure PHI in the cloud?
Deep experience in complying with HIPAA-HITECH standards for security at the physical, technical, and administrative levels is key to securing PHI in any cloud hosting solution. Look for a cloud hosting provider who provides multiple layers of defense beyond just the federal requirements. They’ll have implemented best practices that cover managing security in regulated environments such as:
- Application security
- Identity and access control
- Operating systems, networks, and firewalls management
- Data encryption in transmitting, storing, and accessing information
- Network traffic protection
- Managing and monitoring logs
One thing you should specifically request and receive is a purpose-written Business Associate Agreement that you can negotiate the details with the cloud provider. If a cloud vendor refuses to put in writing their promise to keep your PHI safe and to assume a share of the risk in case of a data breach, you need to find another vendor.
The ByteGrid difference
ByteGrid takes HIPAA compliance seriously. All our community cloud servers come with:
- High availability
- Advanced data encryption
- Shared firewall
- Risk assessment
- DR backup options
- IQ/QQ of infrastructure to satisfy regulatory obligation
- Audit support
- Comprehensive quality management system
ByteGrid is offering an informative guide to help you answer the question “Why You Should Consider HIPAA Compliant Cloud Hosting.” It points out the advantages healthcare organizations can realize when they move to a cloud solution, and it covers the major benefits that a fully HIPAA compliant cloud hosting provider will afford your organization.