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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Medical I.T. and Cloud Computing

safeAs The Healthcare Blog just brought up, a lot of people are talking about the implications of using cloud computing with medical I.T. now that Salesforce is involved with storing medical records.
In case you aren't up on your tech lingo, cloud computing is a term that refers to internet services like Gmail where the data is all stored on someone else's servers.   The advantages of cloud computing are that you don't have to worry about maintaining servers, installing updates, or managing your data.  The downside is that people worry about the security of letting someone else hold on to all your sensitive information.

Obviously, since security is a major issue with medical records, people are afraid of storing medical information "in the cloud".  Here at Zane Benefits, we're strong believers in cloud computing.  After all, our software products use that same model.  So why is it that I think you should all happily hand your data over to our Google (or Salesforce) overlords?
Sure, putting your data in the hands of a third party is scary, but you need to consider who is more likely to protect that data from both thieves, and from honest human error.  If you leave your information on a server that your doctor's office maintains, not only does it make it difficult for other doctors help you efficiently, but it requires your current doctor to actually know something about running a data center.  

If you store your data with a major tech company like Salesforce, you can feel pretty comfortable that it's being protected with offsite backups, physical security, and professional sys admins making sure everything is working.

My brother came up with a great analogy to drive this point home.  When banks first started showing up, it probably seemed like a weird idea to give all your money to someone else.  What if they weren't trustworthy?  What if they lost your money?  Now, it's obvious that banks are a much more reliable way to store your money than keeping it in a shoebox or hiding it under your mattress.  Cloud computing works the same way.  Think of companies like Google and Salesforce (and Zane Benefits) as banks for your information.  We store and protect your data, make it easily accessible, and pass it back to you whenever you need it.