Healthcare Data Security: Three Reasons Why Healthcare IT Professionals Can No Longer Ignore Data Availability


Consider this scenario: There has been a ransomware attack, and a doctor has a patient in dire need of expert medical attention, but unfortunately their hands are tied. The IT systems are down – and there’s no way to access the patient’s medical history. The team wants to provide a course of treatment, but no one knows if the patient has a pre-existing medical issue. The hospital’s IT team could recover the data from the backup provider – but this would take hours and with patient information and history needed to determine the course of care and diagnosis, every single minute is increasing the risk of the patient being harmed.

In healthcare, every moment counts. For the many critical systems and applications in healthcare that can’t be disrupted, the industry needs to explore solutions that will ensure that critical data can always be accessed.

In a recent article in Digital Health Age, Richard Massey, Arcserve regional director – EMEA North, South Africa & Israel, discussed the need for data availability in healthcare. Here, we offer the top three reasons why healthcare IT professionals should embrace high availability.

1. Legacy systems implemented over a period of time create a complex IT environment chock full of points of failure for hackers and ransomware to take advantage of.

Many healthcare organizations are burdened with clunky IT systems that were configured during a period when they were dealing with far less data and complexity across their facility. Unfortunately, this mish mash of legacy systems can create a multitude of avenues to attack a hospital or medical provider.

In fact, the National Security Agency (NSA) recently released a warning that the Blue Keep vulnerability, that was implicated as a cause of WannaCry in 2017, was still affecting some legacy versions of Windows. 64% of global IT decision-makers agree that protecting business critical data has not got easier over the past five years, and clearly the healthcare industry isn’t exempt from this.

2. Constant availability of systems and data is critical in an industry that is dependent on data.

Time is of the essence when it comes to patient care. Whether determining the course of care based on patient history or looking up blood supply availability or accessing research to properly diagnose and treat an illness, healthcare providers require that systems and data be always available to ensure they are able to provide the highest quality of care.

The reality of today’s healthcare, which is more reliant on data than ever before, is that slow data recovery simply isn’t an option. To support the demands of today’s always-on world, data requires constant availability. Because from the office, emergency room or reception, when a system goes down, it can really be a matter of life and death.

3. Take advantage of modern healthcare innovation without leaving your organization vulnerable to a disaster or outage.

With disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and telemedicine gaining momentum and adoption, even more data is being created in the healthcare industry. In fact, research from IDC shows the volume of data generated as a result of healthcare and imaging systems will exceed 2,300 exabytes by 2020, a huge increase from 153 exabytes in 2013, due to advances in big data and medical technology.

To meet the demand of big data and avoid disasters and outages, organizations must look to solutions that offer automatic failover, as this will allow for the constant availability of data wherever it resides, whether that’s on-prem or in the cloud, as this will ensure that critical data can always be accessed.

At the end of the day, modern healthcare needs to keep up with technologies not only on the front lines of patient care, but also behind the scenes as well. With more data that needs protected than ever before, it is imperative that healthcare providers make sure that they are doing what is necessary to make sure they have access to it when they really need it.

Arcserve data protection and business continuity solutions can help healthcare organizations enable continuous availability for critical systems and data to ensure the highest quality patient experience.