Cloud Computing: A Bright Future with a Dark Side
December 30, 2014 by Vickie Anenberg
In both the public and private sectors, cloud computing is being embraced for its speed, capacity, ability to significantly reduce the cost of infrastructure, and flexibility. On December 1, 2014, an InformationWeek post entitled, “Cloud Gains Traction In Healthcare,” detailed these and other benefits.
Written by Alison Diana, using multiple sources in the story, paints a picture of the advantages healthcare will realize as providers embrace the cloud. She wrote that by 2020, 80 percent of healthcare data will, according to IDC Health Insights, “pass through the cloud at some point in its lifetime, as providers seek to leverage cloud-based technologies and infrastructure for data collection, aggregation, analytics and decision-making.
That quote was followed with a prediction by Frost & Sullivan that the cloud healthcare market in this country will grow from $903.1 million in 2013, to $3.54 billion by 2020. However, Frost & Sullivan had some other, rather negative things to say about near-term healthcare cloud use that were not included in the article.
In the firm’s “Research PREVIEW for Opportunities in Healthcare Cloud Market in the US and Europe,” three “Market Restraints” of high to medium impact were noted for both markets through the next five years. They include:
- Concerns on management of security and safety of patient healthcare information in compliance with regional regulations.
- Lack of standardization in legacy systems leads to cumbersome and expensive data migration efforts.
- Questionable reliability of cloud service providers in meeting provisions of service level agreements.
Further, Frost & Sullivan stated: “(P)ersisting challenges pertaining to security, privacy, and performance, are slowing down the adoption rate for healthcare cloud. Data migration and data portability are also concerns for healthcare providers choosing to move from on-premise solutions to a cloud-based model.”
Therefore, it would appear that before initiating cloud service or expanding an existing service, healthcare providers should take a prudent approach by weighing the current risks and rewards of the cloud. A good place to start is the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).
The CSA website offers a wealth of useful information such as news, research, and downloads concerning cloud security. A paper entitled, “The Notorious Nine,” may be of particular interest, and can be downloaded from CSA at no charge. It provides a detailed description of nine major cloud security issues.
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