Understanding HIPAA Compliant Cloud Services

Posted by Chris Isham on Jan 30, 2017 8:08:42 PM

understanding hipaa compliant.jpgHealthcare organizations are turning to the cloud for HIPAA-compliant services such as applications, storage, and networking because they offer improved security for IT systems and operational efficiency usually at cost savings to support their critical business operations. In addition to the cost savings, HIPAA compliant cloud services offer a variety of benefits like remote file sharing, the ability to quickly and easily expand storage, and developing custom applications that allow organizations to create a dynamic infrastructure ready to handle their future needs.

As organizations continue to develop their use of electronic health records, technologies related to integrated healthcare and data analytics, a cloud-first approach to IT infrastructure is the new standard for the industry. You can configure your cloud solution for the entire IT infrastructure, from back-end development to patient portals and new mobile applications. But how can healthcare organizations ensure their solution is HIPAA compliant?

How you can ensure you’re using HIPAA compliant cloud services

Not all cloud vendors are created equal. You want a provider who is an expert in managing the physical and logistical security of their infrastructure, one who carefully implements security protocols that cover the full lifecycle of protected health information.

Just because a cloud solution lets you use it in a compliant manner doesn’t mean compliance is solved. You need to consider some key points to ensure the technology works to enable HIPAA compliance.

For instance, if a cloud vendor isn’t willing to sign a Business Associate Agreement, or worse, doesn’t know what one is, you should continue looking because they don’t understand HIPAA compliance.

Also, cloud solutions may come with features or tools provided by a third-party vendor, but the cloud services provider’s HIPAA compliance doesn’t automatically extend to this other vendor. It’s important to ensure that the entire solution is compliant from end to end.

Finally, look for HIPAA compliant cloud services providers who are third-party audited by EHNAC and further, you should request to audit them yourself and examine their operating policies and procedures.

These are important points to consider; however, a full risk assessment should be performed before selecting a HIPAA compliance cloud service provider to ensure the regulatory safeguards required by HIPAA-HITECH are being met. This should also extend to the cloud provider; a risk assessment should have been performed on all components of the cloud your company will be utilizing even down to the switches and routers. Better yet, if the whole data center has been risk assessed, then you know you are in good hands.

Where you can get more information about HIPAA compliant cloud hosting

ByteGrid created a thorough 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 can afford your organization.

Download your copy of Why You Should Consider HIPAA Compliant Cloud Hosting now.

Topics: HIPAA

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