By Bill Peters
AIS Network Director of Business Development
As of August 1, Microsoft reseller partners like AISN can begin providing Azure* cloud services and selling Azure to customers via Microsoft’s Open Licensing program. Previously, customers could only purchase directly from Microsoft and through Enterprise Agreements.
So, how can AISN’s Azure Managed Services help you? Whether you’re already using Microsoft’s public cloud platform or want to be, or need guidance in choosing between Azure and Windows Azure Pack (for private cloud), we can give you a hand in assessing your needs.
Once implemented, we’ll optimize, manage and monitor your Azure environments, including your virtual machines, databases, media services, mobile services, application workloads and more. Our Azure Managed Services include:
- Azure/ Azure Pack configuration, implementation and support services
- Integration with legacy applications and on- or off-premises environments
- Enhancement consulting
- Cloud storage
- Cloud backup and disaster recovery
- Comprehensive remote monitoring and management, 24x7x365
- Performance reporting and analytics, including remediation services (CPU and memory, system security, application log exceptions, etc.)
- Continuous patching and security updates, with upgrade management
- Administrative support
- Production support
Thinking about a hybrid cloud solution? AISN will also deliver compliant, secure hybrid solutions that run across Azure and on- or off-premises enterprise environments.
Look to AISN Azure Managed Services for:
- Hybrid cloud infrastructure enablement, integration and management, including capacity optimization between Azure and on- or off-premises infrastructures
- High security/ high compliance network connectivity and high availabililty
- Deployment and management of environments for SharePoint, SQL Server and more
- Easy migration of VMs, allowing you to extend your on-premises environment and have the flexibility to move workloads to the cloud
- Development and test environment management for application projects
- Azure Active Directory, enabling you to deploy and manage Secure Identity Services, using Active Directory across Azure and on-premises
- Mobile app back-end storage management
Have a specific requirement that you don’t see mentioned? Let us know and we will try to help you today.
* Microsoft Azure features HIPAA, PCI DSS, FedRAMP, SOC 1, SOC 2, ISO 27007 and UK G-Cloud compliance.
We are proud to share our new Infographic on why healthcare is moving to the cloud. With so many healthcare organizations starting to utilize the cloud and virtualization, we are sharing some of the related trends.
First off, it’s no big surprise healthcare is moving to the cloud; many businesses and organizations benefit from it. Let’s face it – cloud benefits are significant! They include:
But beyond that, for healthcare organizations, there are genuine benefits specific to the sector’s needs and concerns. Our Infographic goes into greater detail but here are some highlights:
Click on the infographic for an expanded, more detailed view. We hope you find it as interesting as we do. And, as always, we welcome any comments or questions below.
For more information on AIS Network’s Cloud Services and Managed Services, see <here>.
By Laurie Head
AIS Network VP, Marketing Communications
All HIPAA/HITECH-regulated organizations in the process of selecting a HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting provider should expect their chosen vendor to sign a HIPAA/HITECH Business Associate Agreement (BAA).*
But here’s the rub. It’s easy to find a cloud hosting provider who says, “Yeah, we’ll sign a BAA.” However, it’s quite another to find a provider who is a HIPAA BAA expert and can help you understand what your BAA means. AISN is that expert.
It’s critical for organizations to understand that it’s not enough to say, “Yeah, we’ve got a signed BAA. We’re good!” Your BAA is not just a piece of paper that you read only when a problem arises. You should understand what you’re signing.
Why? Under the new rule, your exposure to penalties is increased. You’re responsible for protecting your PHI and ensuring that any subcontractors you use are also compliant. If the cloud hosting provider whom you have chosen to access your electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) fails an audit or commits a data breach, responsibility also falls on you. (For this reason, it’s smart to get a network vulnerability assessment from an independent auditor who does not maintain the vendor’s network.)
How can AISN help? Unlike most generalist and commodity hosting providers, AISN is a HIPAA cloud hosting expert. We provide clients with the assistance they need to understand and comply with HIPAA/HITECH throughout all facets of the engagement process. Before any ePHI and apps are moved to the cloud, AISN helps you put in place an appropriate and effective BAA – a policy that is highly specific to the data that we protect and the cloud hosting and services that we offer. Then, our experts will guide you through the process of understanding your own rights and responsibilities, as well as AISN’s, as established under the BAA.
Have some questions about BAAs and HIPAA cloud hosting? We can help. Contact us!
* A HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is a written contract between a HIPAA-covered entity and a HIPAA business associate (BA). It defines the responsibilities of each party to safeguard PHI in accordance with HIPAA guidelines. To learn more, see the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ expanded definition: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/contractprov.html
By Laurie Head
AIS Network VP, Marketing Communications
Our CEO, Jay Atkinson, had the opportunity to attend the annual HIMSS conference in Florida earlier this year and found it entirely exciting and educational. For those of you who are not familiar with HIMSS, it’s a cause-based global enterprise that produces health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. It’s also quite an established group. Having been founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share the cause of transforming health and health care through the best use of IT.
One of HIMSS’ latest endeavors is an inaugural, broad-reaching survey of health care organizations — all on the topic of cloud adoption and cloud services. Released last month, the HIMSS survey found that nearly all cloud adopters in the health care industry plan to expand their cloud services at some level. Areas for growth include archived data, disaster recovery and hosting operational apps and data.
I thought I would share some of the findings by reprinting the HIMSS press release in this blog:
80 Percent of Healthcare Organizations Embrace the Cloud
CHICAGO (June 16, 2014) – Results of the inaugural 2014 HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey show the widespread adoption of cloud services among healthcare organizations across the U.S., with 80 percent of the 150 respondents reporting they currently use cloud services. The top three reasons for adopting cloud services include lower maintenance costs, speed of deployment and lack of internal staffing resources. The survey shows a positive growth outlook for cloud services as almost all healthcare organizations currently using cloud services plan to expand their use of these tools. To review the results in a visual format, download the infographic here: http://bit.ly/1nBsA6j
Half of the cloud adopters are hosting clinical applications in the cloud, primarily using Software as a Service (SaaS). Other typical cloud services include Health Information Exchange (HIE), hosting human resources (HR) applications and data as well as backup and disaster recovery.
“Cloud services have been long praised as a tool to reduce operating expenses for healthcare organizations. The data presented in our inaugural survey demonstrates the healthcare industry’s eagerness to leverage this resource,” said Lorren Pettit, Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics. “With such a positive market outlook, we hope vendors will leverage the business intelligence gleaned from this report, continue working with providers to meet their needs, and help healthcare organizations provide the most cost-efficient care.”
Healthcare organizations take into consideration a number of factors when selecting a cloud services provider. The top concerns for healthcare organizations seeking cloud services are the cloud services provider’s willingness to enter into a business associate agreement (BAA) as well as physical and technical security.
Even after a cloud services provider has been selected and the cloud services have been adopted by the healthcare organization, there are still challenges. Two-thirds of healthcare organizations have challenges, including a lack of visibility into ongoing operations, customer service, as well as costs and fees.
Half of the respondents also identified performance issues, such as slow responsiveness of hosted applications as a problem, but were willing to work with their existing cloud service provider to resolve their issues, rather than switch to a new one.
Interestingly, a small fraction of respondents expressed a resistance to adopting cloud services (six percent). Of these respondents, nearly half cited security concerns as the primary barrier to their willingness to adopt cloud services.
“Many Healthcare CIOs and others have expressed their intention to use cloud services. However, there are some challenges related to use in healthcare and these are what we hoped to uncover,” said Lisa Gallagher, Vice President of Technology Solutions for HIMSS. “Our next step is for the healthcare industry to work with cloud service providers to move forward together in addressing these challenges.”
To learn more about the findings for the survey, which examines the responses of 150 healthcare organizations – including medical practices, hospitals, and healthcare systems – visit the HIMSS Analytics website.
About HIMSS Analytics
HIMSS Analytics collects, analyzes and distributes essential health IT data related to products, costs, metrics, trends and purchase decisions. It delivers quality data and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, IT companies, governmental entities, financial, pharmaceutical and consulting companies. Visit www.himssanalytics.org.
By Laurie Head
AIS Network VP, Marketing Communications
The total cloud storage market is expected to reach $46.8 billion over the next four years with a CAGR of 40.2%. That’s according to a new market research report “Public/Private Cloud Storage Market (Incl. Cloud Storage Gateways, Backup and Recovery, Data Movement and Access, Data Replication, Hsm and Archiving, Security And Storage Resource Management Solutions) – Worldwide Forecasts and Analysis (2012 – 2018)” published by MarketsandMarkets.
Where’s all the growth coming from? The digital data being produced by a huge number of small, medium-sized and large enterprises is increasing at a very fast pace, creating greater need for secure data storage systems. Cloud storage, which is a networked virtual pool of enterprise-class storage, serves the data handling needs of organizations by providing cost efficient data management and a secure and reliable storage infrastructure.
Also according to the report, the global private cloud market is expected to grow from ($5.6 billion in 2012) to $46.8 billion by 2018, at an estimated CAGR of 40.2% from 2013 to 2018. North America commands the largest share; it had 60 percent of the overall cloud storage market in 2012 at $3.4 billion and that figure is expected to reach $21.8 billion by 2018. That’s a CAGR of 33.8% from 2013 to 2018.
According to MarketsandMarkets, “The emergence of the digital trend has accelerated the volume, speed and variety of unstructured data generated, commonly known as Big Data. But, with the amount of data expanding, organizations face the challenge of storing the data securely and at a low infrastructure cost. This will force enterprises to migrate limitless amount of data and solutions to the virtual environment or cloud storage, without being required to spend too much on infrastructure.”
In the years ahead, the cloud storage market will continue expanding steadily largely due to the growth of Big Data. Most enterprises, including small businesses, are rapidly adopting gateway tools to integrate into their existing architecture some means of cloud storage. The process of doing this is becoming easier and easier, which is driving cloud storage adoption – particularly private cloud storage.
How can we help you integrate private cloud storage into your architecture? Contact us for a free consultation.