Cloud Storage vs. On-Site Data Housing: Factors for Healthcare Organizations to Consider
Internet technology has opened the way for data storage to be far less cumbersome for modern healthcare organizations. After all, handling all the incoming data in a modern practice is not all that easy. Many organizations have jumped on board and went after a cloud-hosting solution, but is it really necessary if you have room for on-site data storage in your facility? Here are a few factors to consider before making the final decision on cloud storage versus on-site data housing for your healthcare organization.
Compliance is a core concern for many healthcare organizations with cloud-hosted data storage.
Cloud-hosted data is great; it is convenient and does not require investments in expensive hardware. However, in a field where strict adherence to privacy regulations is a top concern, off-site data storage can be something that’s a bit off-putting for some healthcare companies. You lose a certain level of control over the data when it is stored off-site with a cloud-hosting provider. The digital records are not on-site at the facility, so you have to have full trust in the host for the sensitive data, and sometimes that sense of trust is hard to foster to provide you with full confidence.
Of course, on-site data housing comes with its own compliance concerns as well. Proper security measures have to be in place for the data itself, the systems you used to house that data, and the physical location of the data center. The primary difference here is that if you choose to go with an on-site data storage solution, you will know what levels of protection you have specifically because you had a hand in implementing those safeguards. With cloud-hosted data storage for healthcare, you are at the mercy of the provider.
Setting up your own data center can be a lot of work and money.
One of the pitfalls of keeping data on-site is the fact that it can involve a lot of effort and quite an investment. There are several factors to consider before this kind of implement takes place. You will have to look at:
- What type of computing hardware your organization is going to need.
- If your organization has the electrical infrastructure to offer full reliability and avoid problems with outages.
- How you will implement a cooling system to keep the data center cool due to high levels of heat generation in the space.
- What type of security you will also implement to keep the physical location secure from outsiders.
- If you are capable of utilizing the right operating systems and software to coincide with the on-site data servers.
The bottom line is, you have to consider if building your own on-site data storage in healthcare is worth it or if it would be best to go with the more modern solution. There can be numerous costs involved and a great deal of planning. Some organizations are more equipped to handle these changes than others. For the most part, small and midsize operations simply won’t have the time or funding in most situations.
Don’t forget that hybrid data hosting is also an option.
If you’re not equipped financially to handle a full investment in an on-site data storage system but prefer to keep some legacy applications private in your own data storage systems, you do have the option to go hybrid. According to Forbes, this setup is quickly becoming one of the most popular in healthcare. In general terms, a hybrid model allows you some on-site data storage and some off-site cloud-hosted storage as well. These models are being used quite frequently in smaller operations because they make good sense, allow the operator that sense of control they want, and are financially appealing.
There’s really no one-size-fits-all data storage solution for all healthcare organizations. The important thing to do is to consider all of the pros and cons of each setup and take into consideration the resources and space you have available before settling on a particular data storage solution.
- Jason Vanzin
- Jul 23, 2019
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