Healthcare as a Service – Implementing a Cloud Solution

Cloud security and cloud compliance are one of the hottest topics in cloud computing. During the course of 2012 we’ve seen many companies, specifically software vendors providing healthcare solutions, migrating or implementing their software in the cloud. While cloud computing brings many advantages to such ISVs’ (pay per use, scalability, and automation to name a few), specific regulations, such as HIPAA in the healthcare space, forces such players to pay attention to specific cloud issues around regulatory compliance.
The HIPAA regulation specifically requires Protected Health Information (PHI) data to be encrypted while in motion and while at rest. Any decent security engineer will tell you that implementing cloud encryption can be easily achieved using the same tools used on-premise. Right? Wrong (or to be more exact, partially wrong): Creating an encryption scheme is indeed an easy task to achieve, but that’s the easy part. Doing so without trusting a third party (your cloud provider or the encryption provider) is the tricky part. While implementing encryption as part of an overall software enrollment strategy, one should consider the following: Is the key management server installed on premise or in cloud? On premise is the secure option yet limits many of the cloud benefits, while a key management cloud deployment is attractive from a total-system stand point, but until recently required you to trust a third party with your encryption keys.

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