6 reasons healthcare organizations should archive to the cloud

By Michelle McNickle
12:00 PM

Cloud computing is a growing trend, with many looking to the technology as a natural step toward leveraging data. And if there's one more important use for the cloud, Greg Arnette, CTO at archiving company Sonian, believes it would be archiving to it.

"All this burgeoning information needs to be shared and centrally accessed in order to turn data into science and human benefit. Sharing occurs via email and specialized web-based systems," said Arnette.

"As this medical data continues to grow with email messages that contain patient health status, medical care and treatments, a solution is needed to store and manage all of this information.  Not to mention, there are strict industry regulations, such as HIPAA, that require healthcare organization to preserve these messages."

Arnette outlines six reasons why organizations should consider archiving in the cloud.

1. Cost savings and ROI. The cloud is quickly taking the place of on-premise servers and back-up solutions, said Arnette. "With cloud solutions, organizations can better solve storage management issues, comply with eDiscovery requests in a timely manner, and pay a fraction of the cost they were previously paying for archiving," he said. Most importantly, Arnette said, cloud solutions free up limited resources, "allowing businesses to spend more time focusing on strategic initiatives," he said.

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2. Storage management. If an organization chose to deploy an on-premise archive, said Arnette, they would have to invest in servers and the power to cool the servers, which can add up to a costly investment. "However, in the cloud, organizations can store an unlimited amount of data, due to the scalability of a cloud-powered infrastructure," he said. "A cloud's durability and resiliency also allows every email sent and received to be stored, accessible, and searchable forever."

3. Rapid deployment. No hardware or software is required in the cloud, said Arnette, which allows organizations to begin archiving instantly. "By leveraging a cloud-computing platform, an archive can be up and running and actively journaling data within minutes," he said.

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4. Compliance. "Regardless of the industry, most organizations have regulations to meet," said Arnette. "These rules and laws create an intense environment for businesses, in which they must remain compliant and produce emails within a short period of time." The cloud, he said, streamlines the process with a complete compliance and eDiscovery feature set. "Without these features, a company could fail to meet a request, resulting in costly seven-figure fines and even criminal charges."

5. Powerful search. Using a web-based interface, Arnette said, the admin or user can search the entire archive in a matter of seconds. "Rather than spending hours or weeks searching through old files on backup tapes or in a server, a cloud customer can access their data at any time or place," he said. "Essentially, once your data is archived in the cloud, it's stored, accessible, and retrievable forever." He added that this allows companies to spend more time on business intelligence, while freeing up the IT department's workload.

6. Little to no maintenance. According to Arnette, maintenance fees are dramatically lessened, and no more time is taken away from IT department resources. "When corporate data is stored in the cloud, you don't need excess hardware, i.e. backup tapes or fixed servers," he said. "With no upfront fees or the need to pay for hosting servers and other storage, money can be spent on other business means."