Leveraging your IT roadmap for cloud adoption: 3 key considerations
Organizations across industries are overwhelmingly going “cloud-first” when onboarding new computing workloads. By 2025, cloud-native environments will dominate 95 percent of deployments, up from 30 percent as recently as 2021, according to research firm Gartner.
In healthcare, cloud computing offers notable potential benefits, such as reducing operational costs, scaling services on-demand, increasing capabilities in delivering personalized care, and expanding access to specialized care. The technology can also improve interoperability, leverage advanced analytics, and give patients greater control over their data.
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Nonetheless, cloud growth comes with its share of challenges for hospitals and health systems. The following considerations should be in the forefront as healthcare enterprises work through cloud computing’s progression.
Complexity. Many organizations combine on-premises infrastructure with public cloud services. This hybrid approach allows data and applications to move between the two environments. On average, it takes five separate vendors to handle data management across onsite and virtual settings. However, your enterprise IT team is ultimately responsible for maintaining coordinated services. Effectiveness in managing and protecting data in all sectors of your cloud deployment will determine the success of your overall IT strategy.
Vulnerability. Roughly 70 percent of IT professionals say they trust cloud providers to keep their organization’s data secure. In truth, no cloud provider delivers total security. In 2021 alone, the IT community witnessed far-flung shutdowns due to overwhelmed networking devices, social media downtime caused by faulty configuration changes on backbone routers, and user lockouts during collaborative online meetings and streamed events. Cloud experts insist on having a contingency plan with backup services to mitigate any outages. Additionally, offline functionality of devices and apps should be tested to ensure that essential features remain functional even when connectivity gets knocked offline.
Structure. While pursuing a strategy for cloud computing, your organization will encounter differing solutions from multiple vendors. “There hasn’t always been a very highly controlled and strictly planned accumulation of services, and companies are putting more thought into it,” commented Bill Martorelli, principal analyst at Forrester. Keys for creating a cloud-adoption roadmap include centralizing workloads with one cloud provider, but using other platforms for specific requirements (e.g., data analytics); migrating applications on a case-by-case basis rather than moving everything at once; and focusing talent on dominant workloads while allocating subject-matter experts to individual projects where needed. In addition, third-party cost-management tools can help with forecasting, optimization, and unification of your overall cloud approach.
Healthcare’s drive toward a more interconnected and scalable environment will build upon cloud computing’s capabilities. Now’s the time to weigh options for migrating traditional point solutions to the cloud, where value can be drawn from data across multiple care settings to establish the foundation for future IT innovation.
Frank Irving is a Philadelphia-based content writer and communications consultant with specialties in healthcare, technology and sports. When not following those beats, he writes creative fiction.