Blog: Cloud

Cloud Migration Checklist for Healthcare Organizations

January 4, 2017 - by Synoptek

“So let’s just move it all to ‘the Cloud’!!”

More and more healthcare organizations talking about providing the highest quality patient care while protecting their private healthcare information (PHI), remaining HIPAA compliant, and still managing to reduce operating costs are turning to cloud computing as a solution.

Great idea, fantastic benefits will result, as long as you remember that it’s easier to say than it is to do. Your Healthcare organization needs a Cloud Migration Checklist.

How Hard is it for Healthcare Organizations to Migrate to the Cloud?

It’s not that it’s hard. It’s that successful migration to the cloud requires a variety of intricate steps requiring specific skills that may not be available on your staff. Given that this is a migration that you may only execute once, it’s also likely that it’s not going to be worthwhile to invest in training your own people to do it. As you begin your planning, carefully consider engaging an expert partner to bring the experience you will need, as well as the expertise.

A Pragmatic Definition

Your “information architecture” basically consists of various data assets and applications used to manage those assets in various ways. Try to imagine that you have to move all of those data assets and applications from your entire data center to another data center. Big job! Well, that’s exactly what a migration to cloud computing is. You migrate data and applications from your on-premise computing infrastructure to someone else’s data center. Now you have a picture in your mind of how much needs to be done, and all the concerns around security, privacy, and compliance.

Let’s deal with those.

A Cloud Migration Checklist for Healthcare Organizations

Like any trip from one place to another, you need to start by knowing where you’re coming from, what you’re bringing with you, and where you’re going.

The very first thing on your checklist must be a comprehensive inventory including:

  • Who are your users and how are they grouped?
  • What applications are used by which users and groups?
  • What resources are required by each application to run optimally?
  • What data assets must be accessed while using those applications?
  • What is the value of each of those assets?
  • How are you protecting and securing each data asset currently?
  • How many users will access each application from a dedicated desktop computer? How many from mobile devices inside and outside the facility? How many users access each application from a shared, publicly-accessible station?
  • What kinds of networks are being used to access information? Which are wired? Which are wireless? Which use public wide area wireless networks such as 4G?
  • What devices are being used by each user or group? Computers, laptops, smartphones, other?
  • What are you bringing with you?
  • Each application must be evaluated to determine whether it will be moved to the cloud as it is, modified prior to movement, or must be kept on local infrastructure?
  • Which cloud resource will each application be moved to? Various cloud services offer different functionalities that can enhance its performance.
  • Where will each data asset be moved to? What storage capacities will be provisioned to support each? How will each data asset be protected and secured while in storage at the selected cloud facility, and during transit between there and elsewhere?
  • What devices will each user be accessing which resources? You’ll need to confirm that each device can be properly secured.

Where are you going?

What will your information architecture look like when you’ve completed your migration?

You may hear IT experts refer to this process as developing a technology roadmap between your current state and your desired future state. Without these answers in place in your plan you’ll likely create far more business process disruption than desired, resulting in a far more expensive transition.

Does Your Healthcare Organization Have All The Required Skills to Migrate to the Cloud?

If you’re like most healthcare operations it’s far more likely that you don’t, and it would be illogical to invest in obtaining it. Far more cost-effective is finding an experienced partner. To help you select the right partner we invite you to take a look at Synoptek’s healthcare-related case studies.

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