Challenges of Healthcare Data Protection
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act (HIPAA) enacted by Congress in 1996 established standards for the security and privacy of healthcare-related data. This legislation charged healthcare professionals and organizations with taking measures to ensure that their electronic data systems were fully compliant with HIPAA regulations. Those regulations explicitly state that any health care provider, clearinghouse or health care facility that electronically maintains or transmits health information for individuals must establish procedures for backup & recovery. Additionally, healthcare providers are required to maintain rigorous standards for data integrity, access and audit controls for Protected Health Information (PHI). State laws also provide strict operating regulations for medical practices that affect data management.
Archived medical records need to be obtainable for between 5 and 10 years in most states.
In some states, physicians are required to have a written plan for how their patients will obtain their records in the event that the practice ceases to exist. While larger medical groups will generally have a significant IT infrastructure in place, practices employing less than 50 individuals require a lightweight and economical archive data storage and retrieval solution optimized for their needs.
In addition, while advancements in digital diagnostic imaging have contributed to medical technology, healthcare organizations now face the new challenge presented by the growing volumes of data. Large hospitals store hundreds of thousands of binary images each year, and thus storage capacity is outgrown nearly as quickly as it is provisioned. Moreover, hospitals not only need to find space to store the data, they also need to retrieve it and make it compatible with all applications so that they can get a full context of continued healthcare operations.
Traditionally, healthcare organizations have relied on tape backup systems to both to protect PHI as well as to archive a variety of information including digital images. However, with storage volume use growing an average of 70% annually, most healthcare organizations not only are outgrowing the tape format but are also increasingly vulnerable to the inherent problems of tape backup:
- Tape backup is unreliable – Companies using tape backup report failure rates during recovery as high as 20% to 50%
- Tape backup is inefficient – With healthcare costs rising due to a variety of factors, administration of tape backup and restoration through the data lifecycle becomes inefficient and labor intensive, adding to healthcare administration overhead
- Tape backup is vulnerable – Backup tapes stored either onsite or at an offsite storage facility are still susceptible to physical damage from fires, floods and other natural disasters, and are as well susceptible to theft
For healthcare organizations, ever-growing volumes of data including records (PHI) and digital diagnostic images as well as data access needs are ill-addressed by outdated tape backup. Additionally, the mission-critical nature of healthcare business systems and applications demand extremely high backup process fault tolerance and minimal backup windows.
Best Practice For Healthcare Data Backup & Recovery
CRC DataProtection is the solution that meets healthcare data management challenges. Designed specifically to manage large volumes of critical data distributed across wide networks, CRC DataProtection gives healthcare organizations the tools to dramatically improve backup and recovery performance and efficiency, and to better suit disaster recovery objectives while maintain full HIPAA compliance.
CRC DataProtection Enterprise Backup & Recovery is an agentless online backup service that provides simplified administrative control of backup & restore processes while improving the security and integrity of backup data, as well as optimizing network resources. It gives healthcare IT professionals the ability to efficiently protect information systems in distributed hospital, clinic or healthcare facility networks:
- Application Servers
- File Servers
- Mail Servers
With CRC DataProtection, system administrators no longer are required to install backup & recovery software on each protected machine. Instead, a single administrative machine manages data protection tasks remotely, and for an unlimited number of machines on your organization’s network. In addition to streamlined agentless backup, CRC DataProtection provides online backup services incrementally, so data is transferred with block-level processing to minimize backup windows and maximize productivity.
Some of the other features that make CRC DataProtection the ideal solution for healthcare data protection include:
- HIPAA-Compliant Data Backup, Restore & Archival to meet regulations
- Continuous Data Protection for lowest possible Recovery Point Objectives
- Redundant Offsite Data Centers for complete protection against disaster
- N+1 Grid Data Storage for maximum backup process fault tolerance
- Advanced Security and authentication algorithms to ensure confidentiality
- Scalability to seamlessly accommodate growing volumes of data
- Hot Database Backup for data protection without taking systems offline
- Network-Optimized Backup Processes to reduce bandwidth and save time
- Bare-Metal Restore Capability to maintain continuity with new hardware
- Message-Level Restore for quick retrieval of archived email correspondence
- Backup Lifecycle Management (BLM) to reduce costs with tiered storage
- Shorter Backup Windows to minimize or eliminate downtime
- Autonomic Self-Healing Backup for maximum data integrity and recoverability
- Reduced Administrative Costs through optimized agentless backup & restore
These and many other benefits make CRC DataProtection the most comprehensive and efficient data protection available for healthcare organizations. If your healthcare organization is looking for increased HIPAA compliance and optimized backup & restore, contact CRC today to speak with one of our consultants. We can help you develop a data protection strategy to reduce your reliance on tape backup and give your organization insurance against disasters with complete business continuity.