We’re years into the rise of the cloud, yet one persistent myth continues to linger – the idea that the cloud is not secure. This myth is so entrenched that healthcare organizations often name it as their primary reason for not embracing cloud. But is it true?
In a word, no. Securing the cloud is definitely possible – and you need to look no further than the companies who regularly achieve HIPAA compliance to prove it. From major brands to government agencies, highly sensitive medical, individual and healthcare data is successfully protected in the cloud every day. So where does this stubborn myth come from?
Sometimes it comes from outdated impressions. Maybe cloud infrastructures were built with hosting needs like capacity, connectivity and scalability as a priority, with security implemented as an afterthought. Still other misconceptions about shared infrastructure worry people that they will have to relinquish control of their assets and data. But these issues can be addressed by adopting the correct approach to security architecture. A cloud is a safe cloud – when it’s built on a secure framework.
In fact, moving to the cloud can actually improve your security posture. While you might view cloud benefits in terms of cost savings, such as by only paying for the resources you need, leveraging a provider’s security infrastructure can be an even bigger advantage. Consider your own organization and ask yourself if you have the in-house expertise and budget to implement measures like high-end firewalls, DDoS mitigation, VPN with two-factor authentication, web application firewalls, IDS, IPS, patch management, anti-virus and other tools. This kind of layered security is a huge upgrade for many organizations.
Building the Secure Cloud
There are two key ingredients for true security in the cloud. Let’s look at the first and most important:separation. It’s essential to keep your data segregated from other tenants on the infrastructure. That includes your network traffic, ePHI data and virtual servers, all of which should be separate. The idea here is that other cloud tenants have no way of impacting security. Without separation, your protection hinges on the actions of the other cloud tenants.
The second key ingredient is transparency. Going on the provider’s word is not enough; you need to see behind the curtain, so to speak, to understand exactly how your environment is being protected. This is also a requirement for performing compliance audits, so be sure that you have this visibility and clarity when it comes to your service provider.
These are just a few reasons to banish myths about the cloud. And if you’re still on the fence about moving your data to the cloud? Keep these three facts in mind:
- Cloud technologies are evolving every day, and many of these changes are enhancing the security and performance necessary to protect sensitive data.
- Cybercriminals are a fact of life for every kind of technology. Several of the recent high-profile breach disasters involved on premise systems.
- The cloud is already protecting highly sensitive ePHI and other data right now – it’s just a matter of building the right security posture to keep that data secure.
So the next time someone tells you the cloud isn’t safe for healthcare organizations, be sure to set them straight. Cloud security is more than a reality – it’s an advantage for any organization that wants to protect its sensitive data.