Binary code matrix on server room background showing object storage for healthcare organizations

How Public Healthcare Organizations Can Adapt Their IT Infrastructures To Deal With Disruption

Public healthcare organizations are under immense pressure in terms of IT. While this was true before 2020, Covid-19 has upped the ante even further by fully testing the effectiveness and flexibility of their systems.

These organizations not only have to deal with the same plethora of pandemic-related IT problems as those in other industries but also do so while coping with a variety of financial challenges. These include immense scrutiny of the costs they are incurring, constant budget pressures, and uncertainty regarding the availability of future funding.

One way public healthcare organizations can address these challenges is by ensuring they have a highly cost-effective, scalable and secure data storage infrastructure in place, such as that provided by object storage.

Object storage can give healthcare organizations the tools to deal with disruption. It can help them cost-efficiently scale to meet unexpected demands, manage data more effectively, and protect against the rapidly growing ransomware threat – all without impacting the quality of patient care.

Reducing TCO

With increased budget pressures during times such as these, healthcare organizations are having to find ways to become more cost-efficient. However, this is now harder than ever due to the rapidly growing volume of data that has to be managed and stored in a cost-effective way without sacrificing performance, security or service delivery.

In response to increasing enterprise storage demands, many organizations have turned to the public cloud, drawn in by its flexibility, scalability and consumption-based pricing model. However, public cloud can quickly become expensive as data volumes grow, in particular the egress fees and bandwidth costs involved in accessing data. The more organizations access or manipulate their data in public cloud environments, the higher these fees become – which can add considerable long-term cost.

With on-premises object storage, there are no data access and data egress fees or expensive network bandwidth charges, resulting in much lower TCO over several years.

On top of these cost-efficiency benefits, object storage also provides the flexibility, limitless capacity and high performance required in today’s data-centric world – empowering healthcare providers to address data storage challenges while keeping TCO under control.

Breaking down data silos

Key to ensuring business continuity when faced with unexpected challenges is streamlining data management and accessibility. Health data typically consists of multiple different formats, including patient health records, scans, MRIs, X-rays, and other unstructured data – all of which has to be stored in a way that enables ready access.

One of the best ways of achieving this is through object storage. The user-defined metadata tagging capabilities provided by object storage make it much easier to organize, identify and retrieve data – which is essential when dealing with disruption.

For example, users can add a wide range of metadata tags such as the patient’s name, their date of birth and injury details to X-ray files that would traditionally have had a limited amount of data associated to them. This adds structure to previously unstructured data, making it much easier for healthcare professionals to efficiently search, share and access the right data when they need it.

Ensuring security

During periods of volatility, security takes on a particular importance. This is particularly true in the healthcare sector – which is a prime target for cybercriminals – putting organizations under pressure to ensure all the data they collect remains secure, while keeping core infrastructure, services and operations fully functional.

However, their ability to meet this security need is currently being tested by several factors, most notably a growing cybersecurity threat from ransomware attacks. Public healthcare organizations therefore have to focus on building resiliency into their IT infrastructures in order to address the ransomware issue. This can be achieved by protecting data with immutable storage technology, which is proving to be the best line of defense against ransomware. WORM (write once, read many) storage lets users make immutable “locked” copies of their data, ensuring that they can’t be altered even if cybercriminals to manage to break into the system.

This can then be combined with Object Lock, an object storage feature that makes WORM technology more accessible for organizations, including healthcare providers. Object Lock provides WORM functionality on enterprise storage systems, so data is protected at the device level instead of requiring an external layer of defense. In addition to delivering security comparable to offline storage and ensuring operational continuity in the event of a ransomware attack, Object Lock meets the compliance requirements for key data protection regulations.

So to sum up, object storage offers TCO advantages, enhanced data management and powerful ransomware protection that enable healthcare organizations to overcome inevitable periods of disruption and maintain peak performance.