5 Things To Look For When Entering The Cloud

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By Joshua Dronzek 

When discussing cloud computing, many have the misconception that it is prohibitively expensive or that it is simply not something that their business could benefit from.  The truth is that it usually more affordable than you may have thought and just about anyone stands to gain from it in one way or another. Here are the top five reasons why you may want to consider moving your business into the cloud.

Ease Of Access/Availability – Currently, your practice has hundreds, possibly thousands of patient and/or client files in cabinets stacked to the ceiling. Although this method may have worked for years, there are much more efficient alternatives. As everything goes digital, so must you. When your documents and files are stored in the cloud, searching is instant. You simply type in what you are looking for and with the click of a button, your documents can be found. Utilizing cloud storage also ensures that your data is stored at a secure offsite location that is accessible around the clock, 24/7.

Security – Storing data in a cloud environment is immensely more secure than having the documents stored in your office in paper form, or sitting on your own server. Put into perspective, here are a few dangers that could arise if you choose to store your own documents and files onsite: What if the building burns down? How secure is your server?  Who monitors your office when you leave at night? Most offsite storage companies employ highly trained developers and security personnel to monitor and safeguard your data both physically and electronically. When looking for a cloud storage solution, be sure to ask about this. Note that some companies publicly release this information about their data centers, while others do not.

Portal Technology – So what’s a portal? Basically, when your documents are stored in a cloud environment, the cloud provider or developer has the ability to allow users of your choosing to access these files remotely. This can improve productivity in many ways. Patients could log into your portal and change their demographic data, contact information, allergies, current medications, and more. Doctors can also log in and see all of their patients and corresponding information. Most cloud providers do not offer this feature because of the complex coding and development time that is involved, but a select few do however.  If this is important to your business, be sure to ask about this.

Future Proof – One thing that haunts some cloud computing providers is outdated technology. Make sure that the cloud enabled application of your choosing is built on current technology so that it will be relevant and supported for years to come.

Price – Price is, of course, always a huge factor when thinking about migrating to a cloud-based solution. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself and your solution provider:

a) Is there a per-user cost involved? Is there a site license option?

b) Am I entered into a contractual obligation? Do I need to purchase a separate maintenance contract?

c) Are there hardware and/or installation costs?

How long does migration take and is there a cost involved to migrate legacy data?

So, where should you start?

Utilizing cloud-based solutions can be extremely beneficial in many ways, but problems could also arise. A great resource to learn about common problems and solutions is TruthAboutSoftware.com – They provide real life answers to common problems. One final word of advice is that if your business or organization must comply with HIPAA regulations; make sure that the company you choose to store your data is also compliant.

Joshua Dronzek is CEO of GreySignal, Inc. Bring your practice or organization online with GreySignal’s technologies. GreySignal, Inc. is a Pittsburgh based data management & cloud technologies company servicing clients worldwide with its products that include offsite backup, SaaS applications, domains, hosting, virtual & dedicated servers, SSL certificates, and more. GreySignal offers many incentive programs and also has many partner & reseller programs available.  For more information, visit www.greysignal.com; call (888) 803-9194; or email sales@greysignal.com.