Secure Solutions for the Healthcare Industry

Mar 11, 2021 | Nexsan, StorCentric

Technology and data for the healthcare industry are growing at shocking rates. Just in healthcare analytics alone, it’s estimated that spending will more than triple over the course of 5 years, from $14 billion globally in 2019 to a projected $50.5 billion in 2024.

But healthcare analytics isn’t the only area of growth in the medical field. It is estimated that 153 exabytes of healthcare data were generated in 2013. In 2020, it was likely that there were 2,314 exabytes of healthcare data generated in that one year alone.

Data in the healthcare and medical industry isn’t like any other data. Frequently, this information is tied to patient information, and with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations in effect, much needs to be done to keep data secure.

The Need for Secure Data Storage

The HIPAA Journal shared that most modern technology may not be HIPAA compliant. Many kinds of communication do not meet HIPAA’s regulations, and unsecured data storage may leave patient information vulnerable.

Among other things, HIPAA’s Security Rules lists many specifications for technology to stay compliant, including:

  • Protected Health Information (PHI) needs to be encrypted at rest and in transit
  • Each medical professional must have authorized access via a “Unique User Identifier” so their use of PHI can be closely monitored
  • All technology must comply with HIPAA and have an automatic log-off to prevent unauthorized access to PHI when left unattended, including (but not limited to) mobile devices and desktop computers

Additionally, health professionals and scientists need reliable access to all the patient and research data required to ensure proper patient care and research reliability, as well as secure, long-term storage. It’s crucial for healthcare and scientific organizations to ensure that all of their technology solutions meet the vast requirements set forth by HIPAA.

As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, those in the healthcare sector are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. It was determined that five ransomware operations were responsible for more than 100 ransomware attacks on the healthcare industry in 2020, with two-thirds of these attacks focused on North America and Europe. The attacks instigated by these five groups accounted for 75 percent of all attacks on the healthcare industry in 2020.

Advanced Solutions for Backups, HIPAA Compliance and Ransomware Protection

At Nexsan, our storage solutions are widely used throughout the medical community because they meet the requirements and demands of HIPAA and typical use-cases within the industry. Our solutions provide HIPAA-compliant, cost-effective, secure archives that keep data protected against ransomware attacks.

Which products are well-suited to the demands of the medical community?

Assureon

Assureon is perfect for those looking to achieve HIPAA regulatory compliance for things like:

  • Data integrity
  • Protection
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Longevity
  • Availability

The Assureon data vault storage solution also comes with full audit trails and offers unmatched file integrity protection through protocols like file fingerprinting, self-auditing, and dual-hash encryption. Plus, Assureon offers stellar ransomware defense to keep patient files and PACS images protected from malware that could corrupt or erase your data.

Plus, with flexible deployment options, Assureon offers deployment in the Cloud, as well as hybrid cloud, and on-premises deployments.

Unity with Assureon Delivers Unbreakable Backup

This solution offers protection against increased ransomware attacks. Hospitals need to protect every bit of their data, and the Unity with Unbreakable Backup solution can serve as a last line of defense for quick recovery of data. The Unity Series is designed to keep unstructured data secure, with flexible configurations from hybrid to all-flash systems for affordable solutions.

The E-Series

The E-Series storage solution makes much sense for those in healthcare. It’s cost-effective and scalable high-density, storage that can scale up to 3.24 petabytes in 12U of rack space and can store things like picture archiving and communication system (PACS) images and other health records. It comes with a tried-and-true track record of enterprise reliability.

Real-Life Applications

We’ve seen these kinds of storage solutions work time and time again for those in the medical community.

In one instance, we worked with a health system in New England looking for the right solution for their data. This organization is a top-tier system that offers revolutionary health, wellness, and critical care treatment, working with the nation’s leading specialists.

They are the catalyst for some of the latest medical research advancements, and in caring for patients, they have all kinds of confidential data about each one. Before coming to use, this healthcare system was growing rapidly—as was their data. With no real way to manage it or keep it protected, they needed a more practical, long-term storage approach.

The organization chose Assureon for its ability to keep PACS images and data secure. They also were drawn to Assureon because they could meet HIPAA requirements for file integrity, security, privacy, and compliance, all while keeping costs low.

Other reasons Assureon stood out in a crowded field of storage solutions?

  • A smaller rack footprint for more economical use of their existing rack space
  • Seamless expansion when they needed to increase data storage capacity
  • Regulatory compliance with HIPAA
  • Ongoing customer service and support
  • Competitive pricing and measurable return-on-investment

In another instance, we worked with the Regional West Medical Center, a 180-bed, Level II Trauma Center that utilizes the newest and best high-tech equipment and procedures. They balance their cutting-edge technology use with compassionate care and rely on immediate recall of older studies stored in their legacy systems. In addition to slow and unpredictable recall wait times, they also faced issues like:

  • Inefficient disaster recovery
  • Increasing dependence on primary storage tiers
  • Increasing burdens on their IT staff
  • Risks to their workflow and waning long-term feasibility of their current solutions

For this company, we also implemented Nexsan Assureon. With Assureon in use, Regional-West Medical Center now has faster, more consistent recall performance for better patient care, plus better reliability, data protection, and enterprise-class performance and scalability.

Additionally, by offloading the medical center’s primary and secondary storage to Assureon, their system was freed up for more active data, with less of a burden to manage the systems.

In both instances, these healthcare systems also got unmatched data security protection against ransomware in tandem with an active data vault.

Case Study: Wyoming Surgical Associates

Nexsan worked with Wyoming Surgical Associates in Casper, Wyoming in their search for improved data storage management, security, and protection in a single platform. Wyoming Surgical Associates is a large, comprehensive collective of doctors across specialties, services, and facilities, and as a result, their needs were vast.

In developing new applications to improve patient care, lower back-office costs, and optimize their technical processes, Wyoming Surgical Associates realized it was time to update their data management infrastructure because of their growing practice and rapid data growth and new applications.

For more than five years, the group was pleased with the Nexsan Unity NST 5000; it met their needs and budget, and it was scalable and dependable, but they needed a more robust data storage backbone.

Wyoming Surgical Associates consulted with DigeTekS, their managed service provider (MSP), to find a solution that fit their needs. Their primary considerations were:

  • Their technical needs
  • Their business and confidentiality needs
  • Their budgetary requirements

Their solution?

Nexsan again topped the list, only this time it was the all-flash Nexsan E-Series 18P (E18P) storage platform that fit their growing needs.

Of the decision, Logan Greening of DigetekS said,

“It’s critical that we maintain complete vendor neutrality and choose the ideal situation for each client’s individual requirements. Of course, we were not surprised when Nexsan climbed to the top of the list. We continue to be very impressed with how Nexsan architecture moves forward. We were a bit worried about the cost of an all-flash system costing too much for a medical practice their size—but Nexsan came in at the right price that fit their budget.”

Wyoming Surgical Associates’ set-up and data migration only took a few hours, all with complete transparency for both medical professionals and administrators. Why did they choose the E18P? It offered an unbeatable combination of features like:

  • Renowned reliability
  • Cost-efficiency, price, and performance
  • Robust connectivity options
  • A strong, qualified OS support matrix

Their Nexsan E18P is monitored and managed by DigetekS with added protection and disaster recovery empowered through data replication. And, when a controller needed to be switched out, the process was seamless. DigetekS talked to Wyoming Surgical Associates’ Practice Manager Janis Black through the swap over the phone. Of the switch, Black said:

“Whether we are in surgery, meeting with patients, making appointments, or billing, we need fast, accurate, and uninterrupted access to medical records, insurance, and other critical information. Furthermore, we need to know that we are able to manage and access this data in a fully secure, protected, and HIPAA compliant manner, and from Wyoming Surgical Associates’ perspective, this is where Nexsan E18P truly delivers.”

At Nexsan, we’re dedicated to our work as a global storage enterprise leader for reliable, cost-effective, efficient solutions. We’re passionate about empowering healthcare systems and medical facilities to keep their data secure but accessible with storage solutions from our broad line of products to keep patient data protected and organizations in compliance with all HIPAA regulations.

To learn more, request a demo today!