Enhance Healthcare Provider Agility and Embrace Cloud


Windstream shares healthcare provider considerations for migrating applications to the cloud.

Can cloud solutions really make you more agile?

Recent study by HyTrust found that 55% of healthcare organizations have moved “Tier 1” applications or mission critical applications to the cloud.  With all the consolidation in the healthcare industry there are definitely opportunities to review your cloud strategy and identify where there are additional opportunities. As you add, move, or consolidate locations having all the services needed by those locations available in the cloud would speed deployment time and conserve precious resources.

Security concerns still remain. So let’s explore three major considerations for healthcare providers when migrating applications to the cloud.

  1. Network sized to fit your changing needs
  2. Overcoming security concern as a barrier to the cloud
  3. Cloud model fit to need

Network when you need it

Once you start sending applications to the cloud, your dependence grows for reliable internet connectivity from every location. Do you have this today? How about your rural locations? As a healthcare provider a single connection is not enough, you need to ensure connectivity diversity to ensure you have alternate connectivity in the event of the loss of your primary internet connectivity.

You really need a trusted partner because the individual application vendors really can’t offer the domain expertise needed to look at all of your traffic across all your applications to help you determine the network connectivity requirements and how that changes as you transition applications to the cloud. As a part of your considerations for moving to the cloud, don’t leave out the internet connectivity.

Overcoming security as a barrier to the cloud

With all the ransomware attacks already this year, can you trust your data and especially applications containing protected health information to go to the cloud? This is exactly the reason that healthcare providers have been historically hesitant. The benefits to operationalizing their expenses and getting access to shared computing resources are overcoming the objections. The risk profile of your application as well as the model and architecture choices matters when it comes to considering the security risk. The kind of network path you use to access that public cloud provider affects your level of protection. No matter what level of firewall and encryption you put on a connection if the connection itself rides the public internet there is inherently more security risk. Service providers such as Windstream, offer private network connections dedicated to your enterprise that can increase the security you have even when the application is deployed in a public cloud model. Prioritizing applications to move to the cloud based on their risk profile as well as addressing the path you use to access the application can help overcome the security objections. A recent survey finds that across industries that 64.9% of IT professional respondents find cloud SaaS applications as secure as or more secure than on-premises software. Federal regulators are even getting involved and recommending cloud based backup as one option for PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) to prevent failures. Healthcare facilities that have PACS failures would face FDA compliance actions so disaster recovery requirements and compliance are additional incentives for overcoming objections.

Cloud Model fit to need

What architecture model fits your requirements? Multi-tenant versus virtualized single tenant architecture?

When selecting the model, it will differ by the application and risk profile on which model you select. Which model and architecture you select really depends on the level of control, risk profile you associate with that application and how you plan to mitigate those risks.

The architecture model can be multi-tenant or virtualized single-tenant.  The application can be multi-tenant having one application instance shared among multiple tenants. The other option you have is a completely virtualized stack where that virtualized application instance only belongs to the users of that application. Multi-tenancy is an architecture choice whether you choose public or private cloud and there are degrees of how much of the application is shared among tenants.

Talk to a Windstream advisor about healthcare solutions and your network connectivity needs for migrating additional applications to the cloud as well as our virtualized single tenant UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) solution.