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Healthcare data power play: Double your security & AI capabilities

Who doesn't like a two-fer? The right flash storage solution can offer providers additional security and AI capabilities.
By admin
May 7, 2024, 3:19 PM

Editor’s note: This is the last of three articles, powered by CHIME Digital Health Insights and sponsored by Pure Storage, looking at the intersection of data storage and security for improved digital health operations.

The healthcare sector finds itself caught between opposing forces. Mounting pressure to deliver cutting-edge care and patient experiences runs headfirst into the escalating wave of cyberattacks that cripple operations and endanger sensitive data. These attacks highlight the critical need for a two-pronged approach: locking down patient data while simultaneously unlocking the potential of AI-driven insights.

Healthcare has become a favored target for cybercriminals for several compelling reasons. The industry’s reliance on legacy systems, insufficient security practices in some cases, and the incredibly rich and sensitive nature of health data create an attractive opportunity for attackers. Ransomware attacks are particularly devastating to healthcare providers, resulting in extensive data breaches and putting patients’ lives at risk.

The recent ransomware attack that crippled a major healthcare data exchange serves as a stark reminder of the consequences: lost patient information, payment and claims chaos, and most importantly, the potential for compromised care delivery when critical systems are inaccessible.

Among the sobering facts healthcare providers face in this current cybersecurity climate, data loss is a reality, recovery is prolonged, patient trust is compromised, and the financial fallout comes in waves.


A two-pronged approach: Security and innovation

Protecting data and unlocking its potential for better care are not opposing goals—they’re two sides of the same coin. Healthcare CIOs and CISOs need solutions that work synergistically to:

Bolster Your Cyber Defenses

  • Immutable Snapshots: Frequent, unalterable “saves” of your data become lifelines in case of an attack. Restoring from a secure snapshot means getting back online far faster.
  • Data ‘Safe Mode’: Consider solutions that render backed-up data tamper-proof, ensuring even compromised admin accounts can’t delete recovery options. This is critical in combating “destroy and extort” ransomware tactics.
  • Modern Flash Storage: The speed of flash storage makes a tangible difference in recovery. Minimizing time spent offline is essential to limit disruptions and revenue losses.

Harness the Potential of AI

  • Proactive AI-powered monitoring: Tools that leverage AI to spot anomalies and risks before a breach help IT teams stay ahead of emerging threats.
  • Streamlined data for faster insights: Modern storage solutions designed to optimize data flow ensure AI models aren’t bottlenecked by legacy infrastructure. This translates to faster breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatment, and care delivery.
  • Optimized infrastructure: The right storage choices keep AI-powered applications responsive and resilient, supporting the crucial work of healthcare data scientists and innovators.


Why Flash Storage is Key

Modern all-flash storage solutions play a critical role in these focus areas. Their speed, responsiveness, and enhanced security features make them a necessary upgrade from legacy systems.

A lightning-fast read/write speed makes flash storage crucial in scenarios such as:

in scenarios like:

  • Time-Sensitive Imaging: Rapid access to high-resolution medical images can mean the difference between swift diagnosis and delayed treatment. Flash storage expedites image retrieval and review, supporting faster decision-making.
  • AI-Powered Insights: Training AI models on healthcare datasets is notoriously data-intensive. Flash storage ensures these models can be trained and refined efficiently, accelerating the development of AI diagnostics and personalized treatment plans.
  • Telehealth and Remote Monitoring: Flash storage supports the real-time data flow and smooth video streaming that powers telehealth consultations and continuous monitoring of at-risk patients.

In addition to its speed, flash storage excels at creating immutable snapshots and offers on-device encryption to safeguard sensitive patient data even if physical drives are breached. Further, secure flash solutions aid healthcare providers in complying with data privacy regulations like HIPAA and HITRUST by ensuring robust encryption and audit trails.

Beyond enhancing data-powered medicine and cybersecurity, flash storage also contributes to overall operational efficiency in healthcare.

Flash drives pack higher storage capacities into smaller physical footprints, saving valuable space in hospitals and data centers. It offers incredible reliability, reducing the risk of technical failures that can disrupt workflows and jeopardize patient care. And energy savings are significant, as the lower power consumption of flash drives contributes to cost savings and sustainability efforts within healthcare organizations.

Navigating the Transition to Flash Storage

While the benefits of flash storage for healthcare are clear, successful adoption often requires careful planning and a nuanced strategy.

Organizations need to perform a cost-benefit analysis, carefully evaluate their budgets, balancing the long-term benefits against the potential upfront costs of flash solutions. A strategic approach helps ensure the greatest return on investment. Hospitals may focus initial flash deployment on areas like imaging storage, AI development platforms, or applications containing highly sensitive patient data.

A hybrid approach, incorporating both flash and traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), may provide optimal value with less frequently accessed data residing on more cost-effective HDDs. Flash storage serves applications and “hot” data requiring the highest performance and security, while traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) remain cost-effective for archival purposes or less frequently accessed datasets.

The successful implementation and management of flash storage may require specialized IT knowledge, making training and staffing adjustments necessary. Organizations should consider partnering with technology providers that offer healthcare-specific solutions and support to ensure a smooth transition.

When evaluating storage vendors, prioritize:

  • Solutions designed for rapid, secure restores.
  • Tools that offer built-in ransomware protection features.
  • Platforms that are AI-ready and built to streamline healthcare data workflows.


Make your power play

Healthcare IT leadership faces a dynamic threat landscape and the pressure to maximize their vast data resources. The right storage provider becomes your strategic partner, offering solutions that deliver peace of mind on the security front and unlock the potential of AI to drive better patient outcomes, efficiency, and medical breakthroughs.

Healthcare leaders carry the immense responsibility of ensuring both the delivery of care and the safeguarding of the data that makes it all possible. The right storage provider becomes your strategic partner, offering solutions that deliver peace of mind on the security front and unlock the potential of AI to drive better patient outcomes, efficiency, and medical breakthroughs.


Check out the prior two articles:


About Pure Storage

Pure Storage redefines the healthcare data storage experience and simplifies how healthcare organizations protect, consume and interact with data. Pure powers EHRs, enterprise imaging, back-office systems, and more with secure storage that transforms data into value, providing quicker insights for better patient care.


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