|By Jon Shende||
|February 7, 2013 03:00 PM EST||
Over the last few weeks I've been hearing a lot of discussion around HIPAA. When we speak about HIPAA, invariably the two components of data security and data privacy arises.
In the traditional data centers, database managers and data owners know where their data resides and implement the necessary processes to preserve privacy and audit access.
However, when we move to the cloud, the cloud being all about data, we are looking at servers, network, and storage that are abstracted. This raises concern that data owners may not necessarily know where their data sets physically reside and we are looking at Cloud Service Provider (CSP) employees who will be handling confidential patient data or Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Of importance here is that when it comes to leveraging the cloud ecosystem for healthcare segments, the foremost concerns are around HIPAA and the HITECH Act compliance capabilities and meaningful use provisions.
So what is meaningful use? According to HealthIT.gov
"Meaningful use is the set of standards defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Incentive Programs that governs the use of electronic health records and allows eligible providers and hospitals to earn incentive payments by meeting specific criteria."
The goal of meaningful use is to promote the spread of Electronic Health Records (EHR) to improve health care in the United States.
Benefits of meaningful use of EHRs include:
- Complete and accurate information.
- Better access to information.
- Patient empowerment.
In the healthcare world, organizations are positioning to attain meaningful use. This to capture the incentives allocated by the Federal Government as well as to ensure that reimbursements do not face jeopardy for providers not in line with the meaningful use provisions.
As healthcare practitioners and organizations increase the use of technology solutions in delivering clinical care, their IT departments are faced with additional stress to provide availability on demand and operate data center approaching 99.999 percent availability. In most cases this is a major challenge that can lead to the risk of unscheduled outages and costly solutions.
Assuring high availability for healthcare applications, means meeting uptime requirements; and in today's environments will require access to more than one data center. This can significantly impact the overall capital investment in data center infrastructure for healthcare organizations.
Looking to the cloud as a solution is not only the next step in services but will ensure high availability of clinical applications. This will allow a healthcare organization to leverage the expertise and financial stability of an established CSP. Another advantage of leveraging a cloud ecosystem, is that of rapid provisioning and deployment, with the ability to change compute capacity as demand changes.
Thus in the event of failure, server instances can be seamlessly moved to alternate hosts or in anticipation can be clustered to provide redundancy.
Some may ask whether it is risky to transfer data from site to cloud. The answer is no as a majority of organizations move data over the Internet via encryption channels. Where we can see concerns arising is with the hand-off of data into the (CSP) environment.
In a seamless environment all data will have site to site encryption up to and including storage. Where we can see some separation is with healthcare application vendors support.
In the cloud, it is a given that we can have a number of people with access to the physical servers and storage that cloud consumers have no control over. For an IT Security person this will elicit conflicting concerns as on one hand there is the presupposition that complete control is being relinquished which can only be assured with prescriptive precautions defined by a CSP.
The cloud computing ecosystem is still evolving and as such there is still a lack of industry-wide certifications. As we mature within this ecosystem the intent is to drive toward processes, best practices and certifications which would provide legal protection that can reduce the complexities of a long negotiation and complex SLA requirements.
Within a regular data center or even a small IT shop, as an IT Security leader one of my first expectation for any shop is some form of centralized logging with automation. Similarly by transferring such a mindset into the cloud ecosystem (they are after datacenters) any healthcare customer security leaders expect the assurance that detailed reporting is a given.
Having worked on the security strategy and assessment separately for a few cloud computing projects I have seen first-hand, that access rights was a major focus. In light of this, it is not a complex process to segment solutions for healthcare. As a result any access to servers and storage dedicated to a healthcare customer by anyone within a CSP organization will be logged and thus can provide the assurance of controls around access.
From a legal perspective, more specifically talking contracts, healthcare customers expect the provisions of strong financial penalties to indemnify against a breech as well as to hold the CSP accountable.
Some CSPs are moving to providing a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for their healthcare customers. The assurance provided by their BAA demonstrates meeting the compliance requirements (enabling the physical, technical, and administrative safeguards required) of the HIPAA and the HITECH Acts.
In closing, I will state that HIPPA compliance and cloud computing do not have to be in conflict. Rather healthcare entities can leverage the benefits of the cloud, coupled with the necessary due diligence and legal contracts to meet their needs.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
Aug. 29, 2015 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 360
It’s been proven time and time again that in tech, diversity drives greater innovation, better team productivity and greater profits and market share. So what can we do in our DevOps teams to embrace diversity and help transform the culture of development and operations into a true “DevOps” team? In her session at DevOps Summit, Stefana Muller, Director, Product Management – Continuous Delivery at CA Technologies, answered that question citing examples, showing how to create opportunities for ...
Aug. 29, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 461
In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ernest Mueller, Product Manager at Idera, will explain the best practices and lessons learned for tracking and optimizing costs while delivering a cloud-hosted service. He will describe a DevOps approach where the applications and systems work together to track usage, model costs in a granular fashion, and make smart decisions at runtime to minimize costs. The trickier parts covered include triggering off the right metrics; balancing resilience and redundancy ...
Aug. 29, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 155
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Aug. 29, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 313
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, will discuss how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a prac...
Aug. 29, 2015 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 196
Several years ago, I was a developer in a travel reservation aggregator. Our mission was to pull flight and hotel data from a bunch of cryptic reservation platforms, and provide it to other companies via an API library - for a fee. That was before companies like Expedia standardized such things. We started with simple methods like getFlightLeg() or addPassengerName(), each performing a small, well-understood function. But our customers wanted bigger, more encompassing services that would "do ...
Aug. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 208
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 242
What does “big enough” mean? It’s sometimes useful to argue by reductio ad absurdum. Hello, world doesn’t need to be broken down into smaller services. At the other extreme, building a monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is just asking for trouble: it’s too big, and it needs to be decomposed.
Aug. 29, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 334
Early in my DevOps Journey, I was introduced to a book of great significance circulating within the Web Operations industry titled The Phoenix Project. (You can read our review of Gene’s book, if interested.) Written as a novel and loosely based on many of the same principles explored in The Goal, this book has been read and referenced by many who have adopted DevOps into their continuous improvement and software delivery processes around the world. As I began planning my travel schedule last...
Aug. 29, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 506
Docker containerization is increasingly being used in production environments. How can these environments best be monitored? Monitoring Docker containers as if they are lightweight virtual machines (i.e., monitoring the host from within the container), with all the common metrics that can be captured from an operating system, is an insufficient approach. Docker containers can’t be treated as lightweight virtual machines; they must be treated as what they are: isolated processes running on hosts....
Aug. 29, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 123
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 29, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 848
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
Aug. 29, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 435
Introducing Containers & Microservices Bootcamp at @CloudExpo Silicon Valley | #Containers #Microservices
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
Aug. 29, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 182
The pricing of tools or licenses for log aggregation can have a significant effect on organizational culture and the collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. Modern tools for log aggregation (of which Logentries is one example) can be hugely enabling for DevOps approaches to building and operating business-critical software systems. However, the pricing of an aggregated logging solution can affect the adoption of modern logging techniques, as well as organizational capabilities and cross-team ...
Aug. 29, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 365
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
Aug. 29, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 557
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
Aug. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 379
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Aug. 29, 2015 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 347
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
Aug. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 482
DevOps has traditionally played important roles in development and IT operations, but the practice is quickly becoming core to other business functions such as customer success, business intelligence, and marketing analytics. Modern marketers today are driven by data and rely on many different analytics tools. They need DevOps engineers in general and server log data specifically to do their jobs well. Here’s why: Server log files contain the only data that is completely full and accurate in th...
Aug. 29, 2015 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 340
The Microservices architectural pattern promises increased DevOps agility and can help enable continuous delivery of software. This session is for developers who are transforming existing applications to cloud-native applications, or creating new microservices style applications. In his session at DevOps Summit, Jim Bugwadia, CEO of Nirmata, will introduce best practices, patterns, challenges, and solutions for the development and operations of microservices style applications. He will discuss ...
Aug. 27, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 507