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7 Signs You Should Invest In Cloud IT for Your Healthcare Business

Cloud solutions have taken a number of industries by storm and healthcare is no exception. A 2014 survey from HIMSS Analytics discovered that more than 80% of IT executives reported using cloud service solutions. The survey also highlighted that 67% of IT healthcare businesses were using SaaS applications, nearly 16% were using Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and 2.4% were using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

So if you are a healthcare business and are considering investing in cloud services, here are seven signs you need to look out for.

No 1.   You have a flood of patient and employee data

The data-driven economy is putting a lot of pressure on firms to gain access to large datasets. Healthcare organizations are not without these pressures, considering that patient and staff records can be cumbersome to manage in the long-term. Due to this, all businesses need to embrace the fact that cloud computing will force its way into their business in one way or another. The paperwork associated with managing the vast number of healthcare departments has gone out-of-date and adopting the cloud can be an important step into the future of the medical industry.

No 2.   You are worried about data security breaches

With the changes made to HIPAA, healthcare organizations are coming under increasing scrutiny to ensure that their patient data is secured and maintained in the safest manner possible. This has put an upward demand for EMR (Electronic medical records) and switching to the cloud can provide your business the leverage it needs to have secure data across your organization.

Other important considerations such as unauthorized access to patient files from employees and loss of confidential patient files can put your healthcare business at a risk. Switching to a private or hybrid cloud platform can provide the necessary encryption and two-factor authentication security protocols, making it a key data risk management strategy.

No 3.   You want to lower your healthcare costs

Cloud adoption can be particularly beneficial in cutting down the overall costs of healthcare operations. The costs of state-of-the-art medical facilities and equipment and workforce wages can drain your business’ financial health.

With cloud solutions, businesses can literally wave their physical data centers goodbye. The cost and maintenance of constantly having to upgrade your mainframe computers is considerable, to say the least. Through greater cloud cost efficiencies, healthcare business can widen their services to their patients and enjoy greater profitability.

No 4.   You are running SaaS-based applications

SaaS applications have the benefit of being used on a subscription-basis, making it far flexible and cost-effective for healthcare organizations. The Affordable Care Act 2010 has pushed healthcare organizations to conform to greater IT use in order to cut down on their operating costs.

However, SaaS applications can lead to high security vulnerabilities, which is why the cloud can give businesses a platform that is both secure and cost-efficient.

No 5.   Your workforce is mobile

The BYOD (Bring your own device) policy is one of the ways that have been reported to drive higher business value. Doctors are always requested to be within reach of their hospital patients through mobile. However, if healthcare staff access patient files from their phones, especially on public Wi-Fi, networks, the healthcare organization can face great security vulnerabilities.

Many third parties prey on insecure networks to steal confidential information and records. Using a cloud network can help healthcare organization provide greater security and access to their workforce. This will help them ensure that doctors can go mobile without having to put their doctor-patient confidentiality in jeopardy.

No 6.   You want to provide quicker cancer treatments

Traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy are becoming out-of-date. New medical research is paving the way for more safe and reliable methods of treating patients with cancer. One of these is the Human Genome Project, which was launched many years ago. It works by tweaking a treatment plan for a patient’s cancer by considering the patient’s lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors.

But the downside with this project is that it takes many weeks and months to formulate. With cloud analytics technologies, the development time can be reduced to within 24 hours, helping healthcare organizations provide cancer treatment with greater effectiveness. Tech giants Intel and OSHU have announced the open PaaS Collaborative Cancer Cloud, where healthcare organizations can share data about their patients which can be used to formulate cancer treatment within days.

No 7.   You want to overhaul your medical practices

Perhaps you want to update your medical practices in lieu of the government regulations and provide more advanced and effective healthcare to minimize long-waiting queues and costs. The Wall Street Journal and Accenture reported in 2013 that 15 percent of medical institutes are now turning to the cloud for medical imaging purposes. Accenture has even enabled the deployment of the cloud-driven RIS (Radiology Information System) for five hospitals within the United Kingdom.

Matt Oakley from Accenture’s Medical Imaging Practice in United Kingdom and Ireland explains that:

“The growing demand for imaging means that radiologists are confronted with increasing workloads and the challenge of processing larger amounts of data.”

End note

In conclusion, the prospects of healthcare organizations adopting cloud technology are incredibly favorable, owing to the benefits of greater cost efficiencies, flexibility, and confidential data security. Cloud technology is proving to be a necessity and businesses that do not embrace the technology will not be able to provide their healthcare services in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

5 Predictions in 2015 of Cloud IT And Why You Need to Know

Without a doubt, 2014 was a great year for cloud. I’d like to provide five predictions for the upcoming year and why you need to know. If you’re considering moving to the cloud, it’s a good time to be a customer with new services from AWS, Google and Microsoft.

  1. More demand in the market for cloud services.

Per a recent Gartner forecast, the Software as a Service (SaaS) market will grow at a yearly growth rate of 20.2%! With this type of estimated growth, it is easy to see why so many SMB’s are ready to move to the cloud.

  1. Data security overtakes device security.

BYOD is now a part of everyday work culture. Employers and employees want to work unrestricted and devices are being replaced quickly while the value of corporate data spreads longer and connected devices reduce the necessity for device-local data storage. Companies will turn their focus from securing endpoint devices to securing data on its way to and from the cloud and being stored in the cloud in order to guarantee a smooth user experience.

  1. Security, security and security…

Many web articles discuss concerns over the security of data in the cloud as a major factor of cloud adoption. Over time, most companies recognize it is near impossible to have foolproof on-premise (company owned servers or data centers) and that no cloud is. Once accurate expectations are made, companies need to focus on evaluating and mitigating risks intelligently.

  1. Increased hybrid cloud implementation.

As more companies adopt cloud, hybrid cloud implementation will be the norm. Why? As C level executives develop cloud strategies, organizations benefit from the convenience of the cloud business model and attain the performance of on-premises solutions. Due to the complexity of today’s environments, it would prove to be extremely difficult to move everything across-the-board to the cloud.

  1. Cost effective clouds.

The return on investment for computing projects ranges significantly.  After deployment, cloud value is easy to define. In other cases, cloud needs to be considered a long-term investment and aging hardware and servers can be factored as part of the value cloud computing will truly bring to your business.

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4 Tips on Creating an IT Budget

4 Tips on IT Budget

Information technology is the core of every organization, with a company relying on its equipment, applications, and documents to take care of customers and attract new business. But as time goes on, technology must occasionally be replaced or upgraded. To make sure your business stays on budget each year, it’s important to create an effective, accurate IT budget that keeps your technology current without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips to use when creating your IT budget each year.

Conduct an Inventory

The best way to determine what you’ll need to spend is to inventory what you currently have. Conduct and maintain a thorough inventory of all of your systems, along with the purchase dates. There are many software solutions available that will help you keep up with your equipment, along with reporting features that will extract equipment lists by purchase date.

Track Software Licensing

If any of your software requires licensing, keeping up with those licenses is essential. Businesses can be fined thousands of dollars for installing software without a license on file. Track each software license and budget money each year for software upgrade fees to ensure you’re in compliance. As businesses increasingly go to the cloud for essential tools like word processing and spreadsheets, monthly fees will likely replace renewable software licenses, making budgeting easier.

Set an Equipment Replacement Cycle

As time goes by, it’s easy to put equipment replacement off. Increasingly, businesses are being forced to make the choice between replacing aging equipment or using the opportunity to migrate to the cloud. When a business has a plan in place for making that move, it’s far easier to set a financial plan for the next few years. For PCs, servers, and mobile devices, it’s essential a business set up a replacement cycle to ensure equipment is replaced while it is still functional, rather than waiting until it begins impacting productivity.

Plan for Lean Times

Any business will likely go through times when income is lower than other times. By setting money aside when cash flow is positive, a business will have funds in place to handle those lean times. Unfortunately, many companies let equipment replacement and software upgrades slide during those tough times, leading to serious problems later. An office full of outdated equipment can drain productivity and lead to numerous unexpected failures.

IT equipment and applications take up a large part of today’s business budgeting. It’s important that organizations keep track of all hardware and software in order to ensure finances are set aside each year to keep the information technology infrastructure well funded.