10 Best Practices for Choosing a Cloud Storage Partner

Ten best practices for choosing a cloud storage partner can augment the challenge and potential for mistakes when transferring health information to a cloud storage system, according to a eWeek report.

1. Identify your security responsibility. Some vendors of cloud systems only provide data security up to a certain point. This would leave your hospital or healthcare organization responsible for the rest of the security. If this may be too challenging, it is a good idea to choose a provider that offers more comprehensive security options.

2. Get to know service level agreements and customer service. Read the fine print on the service level agreement so that it equates with your hospital's customer service. Also, look for a vendor with healthcare industry experience.

3. Make regulatory requirements top priority. Select a partner that understands regulatory requirements for healthcare data storage and whose infrastructure is certified.

4. Keep data safe while on the move. Choose a vendor that can protect data on-site, and when physicians, clinical staff and nurses use mobile devices.

5. Audit your vendor's environment.
A cloud partner must have outstanding security within its own network and infrastructure. Guarantee that no data can be accessed without permission from the data's owner.

6. Give a background check.
The BITS Standard Information Questionnaire is a great tool for evaluating cloud provider backgrounds. The survey addresses operational environments, information security and other policies. The questionnaire can be found at bits.org.

7. Choose a flexible solution. For a smaller hospital or healthcare organization, outsourcing data storage is likely. However, in the future, your hospital may move storage in-house as it grows. It is important to choose a cloud partner that can transition easily.

8. Ensure that data is disaster-proof.
It is imperative that data is backed up regularly to a remote, off-site data center. Choose a partner that has a data center far from your hospital's main offices so the data is secure in the event of a natural disaster.

9. Know where the data is kept. The actual physical location of data is very important for compliance purposes.

10. Get up close and personal about costs. There is a lack of inconsistency for costs and features across vendors. With improper planning and poor vendor selecting, you could end up paying more than necessary.

More Articles on Cloud Computing:

3 Best Practices for Hospitals Integrating Patient Data in the Cloud
Report: 71% of Providers Planning, Deploying Cloud Technology
Stage 2 of HITECH Brings Up Security Concerns

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