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Medical Device Secure Cloud Record Storage

More manufacturers are expressing an interest in transferring medical device and other important records to the big cloud storage providers: Google, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure. Sundial can provide references and a history of success with Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Google’s Cloud Services are especially attractive if your company is heavily invested in the Google “G” App universe – gmail, google drive, google apps, etc.

Moving your records, or EDMS, to a cloud solution is a great way to go to lower maintenance and IT costs, and open availability of files and services to anywhere in the world.

The largest concerns with these moves are the security of information being passed between local and cloud networks, and recovering data in case of a failure.

Security is usually accomplished by running one or more VPN (virtual private network) units onsite at your business, and then a corresponding number of VPN units in the cloud to connect, or “extend,” your local network in the cloud.

In our experience, the security of cloud storage is superior to in-office storage. Although you can not “see” the servers, they are maintained by large companies who test, update, and patch things on a very strict basis.

Cloud services and data storage seem very attractive until it comes time to retrieve all the data in case of a failure or audit. Even a “high speed fiber connection” is typically 5-10% the speed of a local network connection. If you plan to store hundreds of thousands, or millions, of records in the cloud, it could require weeks to perform a complete download. Fortunately many providers offer a service to ship data via hard drives, assuming a plan is in place to restore data locally.

Assuming these challenges can be met (they can in our experience), then cloud storage become extremely attractive. Large-scale providers purchase and maintain hardware, data centers, connections, and related equipment on a scale not attainable by even large businesses. It is nearly impossible to build-out your cloud infrastructure with the same ROI as offered by Amazon’s AWS or Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

The availability of relatively large storage containers, robust processing speed, and pre-built VPN virtual machine images is providing for an attractive situation to move company documents and file-storage and indexing operations to the cloud. This move can eliminate some or all on-site server architecture.

Moving records to the cloud is especially attractive if you are currently performing a physical company move or considering upgrading local storage hardware. If your current hardware is past its usable lifespan, or you are considering buying new, then the cost of cloud storage can be weighed against this large up-front expense. We can provide long-term cost data on cloud moves and operation versus our experience on local, physical servers.

Once records are in the cloud, a variety of solutions can be deployed. Customers may choose to deploy any of the EDMS systems we normally install and support: QCBD, SharePoint, etc. Connecting to these solutions over a VPN will be similar to an in-office scenario without the expense, heat, and noise that come with physical servers.

  Typical Implementation Schedule:
 Assess current environment – determine if cloud move is appropriate.
 Choose from cloud vendors – preference toward AWS and Azure.
 Determine what is appropriate to move and not move based on cost vs ROI.
 Deploy and configure cloud tenant.
 Deploy and configure virtual machines.
 Move data, software, and infrastructure as necessary.
 Test and roll out to users.

FAQ

Can our current EDMS run in the cloud?

Because Amazon and Microsoft have options for extending your current network to the cloud, you can potentially run anything “in the cloud.” Whether it is practical, cost effective, or high performance is another story.

Is the cloud the future?

The “cloud” just refers to servers in someone else’s building. In general all things in our society trend toward larger operators that benefit from economies of scale.

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