Moving to the cloud is a smart business move for many medical providers these days. The security, convenience, and scalability are attractive attributes for busy practices that don’t want the hassle of attempting to handle all their IT needs in-house. Plus the mandated move to electronic health records (EHR) is causing many enterprises to rethink their entire IT strategy.
While there are many benefits to moving to the cloud, reaping the rewards takes some serious preparation. Following best practices for pre-migration planning is key to ensuring the success of cloud operations. Sure, planning the move sounds simple, but it’s so simple that many firms fail to do it. The result of inadequate preparation is often lost data.
Check the Paper Trail
First, it’s important for medical practices to look closely at the service-level agreements (SLAs) they have with existing vendors. And then look at them again.
Practice groups should make sure the answers to the following questions are clear:
- What constitutes an outage: Is it lack of access to service or to data?
- What does the contract cover in terms of storage, data transfers, metadata functions, and copying and deleting files?
Have an Itinerary
It’s important for practitioners to know where data will “live” during the entire process. There should also be a plan spelling out who is responsible for maintaining the data during the migration. For businesses that can’t afford a lot of downtime, it might be a smart option to replicate data rather than doing a straight transfer.
Then, it’s critical to consider every operation the data touches and how those systems will communicate after the move.
Obviously, testing security is key in any case. But when migrating to the cloud it’s important to test it twice. Security should be checked both before porting the data and again after it resides in the cloud. Keep in mind that some aspects of security may need to be reconsidered after the data is refactored for cloud optimization.
Practice groups should also work with their service providers to formulate a porting plan so they can ensure they have a plan for retrieving data.
The upshot: Working with an IT partner that can understand the critical needs of practices’ data integrity and business continuity is key to ensuring a smooth transfer with minimal interruption.