Cloud security, data backup are top priorities for hospital CIOs


Many healthcare CIOs who have invested in the cloud know that security should never be on the back burner. With employees trusting the cloud for hospital inventory management, information security and hosting virtualized desktops, it's important to have the necessary protection against cybercriminals. This is why a recent TechTarget survey of more than 4,100 IT professionals found 45 percent have new network security deployments this year, while 39 percent are focusing on data loss prevention.

Tyler Shields, senior analyst of security and risk management at Forrester Research, told TechTarget that a study at his company revealed similar statistics. Staying compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act should be the primary reason for protecting data because leaking critical health files can quickly ruin the reputation of a hospital, not to mention cause potential legal issues.

Disaster security is growing in importance
When healthcare facilities suffer data breaches or deal with cyberthreat​s, it's critical that their computing systems get back up to speed as quickly as possible. A separate survey from cloud-integrated storage solutions provider TwinStrata found 53 percent of more than 200 IT staff members claim their organizations are going to focus more heavily on data backup this year. This shows that hospitals are serious about protecting critical patient information.

It's not a matter of whether cybercriminals will find their way through the security defenses that healthcare facilities have set up, but when it will happen. Keeping this in mind, it's more important than ever to put a higher focus on being able to recover quickly from a breach. The survey demonstrated that cloud storage users were twice as likely to restore processes than others with legacy systems. The time is now for hospital CIOs to understand the security potential of the cloud.

"Once again, we see in this survey organizations using the cloud as a means to address some of their standard storage problems such as backup have a significant advantage over those that don't," said Nicos Vekiarides, CEO of TwinStrata. "That fact, coupled with the lower cost, lower maintenance model that cloud storage provides makes it an easy way for organizations to improve their ability to quickly recover."

Organizations are spending more time on data backup
Having a dedicated backup strategy is imperative for hospital CIOs who are leveraging the cloud to store patient information and critical health files. Putting these initiatives in place requires IT professionals to invest more time into storing important files. Three-quarters of respondents to the Twin Strata survey said they are backing up more data than did in the past, while more than half have spent at least six hours ensuring that information is stored securely.

However, hospital CIOs must ensure that smartphone and tablet apps deployed by their staff members are also receiving the proper protection. According to the research, less than 25 percent of organizations don't even back up their applications every month, and some said they never do so. Remembering to protect all data is critical to staying compliant with HIPAA rules.