Cloud Computing in the Healthcare Industry Pros and Cons: 2019 Edition

Cloud computing in the healthcare industry is a booming market. One recent report projected the market to grow from 2018 to 2022 by more than $16 billion.

The reason why so many healthcare providers are making the switch to the cloud is because it offers enormous benefits, including:

  • Cost savings;
  • Better data organization;
  • Predictive data analytics that improve patient care;
  • Continuity of care;
  • Scalability;
  • Less downtime; and
  • Dependable data security.

However, cloud computing isn’t a perfect solution. There are still a few challenges that healthcare providers have to address, such as:

  • Bolstering data security in the cloud;
  • Creating secure data backups; and
  • Providing access to data during power or network outages.

The good news is that these three challenges are easy to overcome when you work with an experienced cloud computing firm. This guide will help you decide whether cloud computing is right for your healthcare business and offer tips on what you can do to successfully make the transition.

The Pros of Cloud Computing in the Healthcare Industry

Cloud computing is the process of using remote servers to store, organize, process, and analyze data. Unlike traditional data computing, healthcare facilities don’t have to own and operate server rooms. Additionally, there’s no need to store data on magnetic tape, hard drives, or other physical storage systems. Everything is easily accessed via the cloud from any authorized device.

There are a number of advantages of cloud computing in the healthcare industry. This technology can help in every area of healthcare, from daily facility operations to patient care. To determine whether cloud computing is right for your business, take a look at the following benefits:

  • Cost savings. You won’t spend money building server rooms, buying expensive data storage equipment, or maintaining these physical systems. Outsourcing the servers and network helps reduce operational costs.
  • Data organization. When you store everything in the cloud, the data is easier to process. The flow of data is also much smoother. All authorized users have access to the latest data, which improves communications throughout a facility dramatically..
  • Predictive analytics. With all of the data stored securely in the cloud,  the analytics process is more accurate. This is especially important in healthcare because it can help providers offer patients better care. When all patient records are up to date, providers can use advanced analytics algorithms to identify health risks, track treatment results, and analyze patient behavior to improve satisfaction.
  • Continuity of care. Keeping track of your patients’ health histories is vital. If your patient needs to see a specialist or visit another branch location, their health records should follow them. Cloud-stored patient data such as known allergies, treatment plans, and prescribed medications can be transferred to other authorized healthcare facilities easily. You’ll protect patients from negative drug interactions, overprescribing, and other medical problems.
  • Scalability. As your healthcare practice grows, you can quickly add new technologies, open new branches, or move to larger buildings without risking data loss. To move your data or increase storage space, contact your IT department or cloud computing provider and they will handle the details.
  • Less downtime. Cloud computing providers offer service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee very little downtime. Some guarantee as much as 99.9 percent uptime. The more backup servers and networks the provider uses, the less downtime you’ll experience.
  • Reliable data security. Although there are still some security challenges, for the most part, cloud computing is very safe. Healthcare isn’t the only industry that depends on secure storage and transactions. We have more tools available than ever to protect sensitive data, such as encryption, firewalls, authorized user profiles, two or three-factor security access points and more. In some cases, storing data in the cloud can actually be more secure than physical data storage systems, as there’s no risk of the storage room being left unlocked or unattended. Employees also aren’t as likely to accidentally take private data home on their laptops or tablets. If someone steals the device, they would be unable to access the data because nothing is stored on the device’s hard drive.

Cloud computing in the healthcare industry has evolved significantly over the past few years. It’s becoming the new standard in healthcare, especially as cloud security improves. It’s only a matter of time before every healthcare facility begins using this technology, which is why you should start thinking about making the transition today.

The Cons of Cloud Computing in the Healthcare Industry

While the benefits of cloud computing in the healthcare industry are clear, there are still a few downsides, such as:

  • Data security breaches. Although cloud computing providers take data security seriously, there’s always a risk of data breaches. It’s impossible to make a system that is 100 percent safe. However, you can combat this problem by hiring an experienced team of data security experts. They will not only ensure that your system is well-secured using encryption, authorization checkpoints, and strong firewalls, but can help train your staff on security best practices. With the right security tools and protocols in place, your data will be as safe as possible.
  • Loss of data in the cloud. Another issue with storing data in the cloud is the risk of corruption. This is also an issue when you store data on hard drives or magnetic tape. Corrupted files may be impossible to recover without an effective backup system. As long as you have your data stored in a secure backup location in the cloud, you can recover your lost data immediately. So, while data loss can impact cloud-based systems, it’s also easier to prevent this problem than if you have data stored in a physical location. That’s because maintaining two separate data storage rooms is much more costly and difficult than keeping backup data stored on another remote server.
  • Connectivity disruptions. One problem that is unique to cloud computing in the healthcare industry is the loss of connectivity due to network errors or power outages. If your device can’t connect to the cloud, then you can’t access the data. To prevent this problem, many cloud computing providers have multiple servers and networks at many different locations. If a server is down, the provider can automatically connect you to one of the other working servers. Healthcare facilities like hospitals also have multiple backup generators, so you’re unlikely to completely lose access to data even during power outages.

You can mitigate these problems by choosing the right cloud computing provider. When you speak with a provider for the first time, ask them about these three issues in particular. The best providers will have specific tools that they use to address each problem and thoroughly protect your facility and patient data.

Is Cloud Computing Right for You? Weighing the Pros and Cons

The pros of cloud computing in the healthcare industry far outnumber the cons. The challenges of cloud computing can be addressed using advanced data security measures and reliable backup systems.

This technology is especially helpful for large-scale enterprises that have to manage multiple branches. Smaller enterprises will also find cloud computing useful for organizing data, improving data security, lowering operational costs, and providing the best patient care.

If you want to make the most of cloud computing, use a knowledgeable IT firm that specializes in this technology. The firm will design a custom solution based on your business structure and strategy. Experts can also help you upload data into the new system, create a user-friendly platform for your staff, and train everyone on security best practices. By the end of the process, you’ll have an efficient, secure cloud computing system that helps improve patient care.

Are you ready to make the switch to the cloud? Contact Tek Leaders today to find out more about cloud computing in the healthcare industry. Our team of experienced cloud experts will help you decide which tools your enterprise needs to become as successful and efficient as possible. Or, if you have more questions about the cloud computing services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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The Best Data Analysis Tools 2019

Just a few decades ago, only the largest and most powerful enterprises had access to advanced data analysis tools. Software licenses were prohibitively expensive and businesses had to hire experienced data scientists to perform analytics.

This is no longer the case. Today, even the smallest businesses can use top-quality analytics tools at relatively little cost. You can perform detailed calculations directly from a desktop or tablet within minutes. In many cases, you don’t need any special training. 

However, while data analysis tools are more accessible, there are more tools on the market than ever before. How do you choose the best ones for your business? This guide will walk you through some of the most important data analysis tools and offer a few essential tips on how to incorporate them into your business strategy

What Are Some of the Best Data Analysis Tools?

There are many different data analysis tools on the market, but they all are designed to help you accomplish the same end goal: The best tools help you organize your data and identify patterns that would be difficult to spot on your own. 

However, every data analysis tool uses slightly different methods. Some tools specialize in very specific types of data analysis such as statistical data or machine learning. Others are more inclusive, offering a broad range of data analysis options on a user-friendly platform. 

To help you decide which tool is right for your business, we’ve put together a list of some of the most noteworthy data analysis tools on the market.

Basic Data Analysis Tools

  • Excel: This is a fairly basic tool, but it’s very effective. You can use Excel to format data and generate simple visualizations like pie charts or line graphs. The tool is most effective for filtering data. In other words, most businesses use Excel in combination with another data analysis tool to generate meaningful insights. You can start by filtering and formatting your data in Excel and then run your data through a more advanced tool like Power BI or Tableau. Most other data analysis tools are compatible with Excel, so all businesses should have this software.
  • R Programming: A programming language and free software primarily used for data modeling and statistical data analysis. The tool works by compiling your data and running it through different programming and statistical features. These features are developed in the R language and can include everything from geo-spatial coordinates to time series analysis. There are thousands of unique analytics features. The downside of using R for data analytics is that it requires some prior programming knowledge. You must also decide which features you want to use and determine how to incorporate them into your existing system. It isn’t intuitive.

Best Data Analysis Platforms

  • Power BI: This tool takes data analysis to the next level. Power BI is a suite of data analytics services that allows you to govern data, generate visualizations; and share reports with colleagues. It’s primarily used for predictive modeling and reporting. The user-friendly dashboard enables you to cluster data and make forecasting calculations quickly. It’s an especially useful tool for businesses that need to generate a lot of reports or want a simple platform to work on large-scale projects. 
  • Tableau: This tool is similar to Power BI in that it also provides a user-friendly data analysis dashboard. However, it’s more focused on visualizations than predictive modeling. It offers a massive number of visualization options that make it easy to identify patterns and share insights with everyone in the company. You can also choose either an on-premise or cloud model, enabling greater flexibility. Another benefit is that Tableau offers a quick installation option for small and mid-size enterprises. You can set the system up from scratch in just a few hours. However, one downside is that Tableau is more difficult to learn and more expensive than Power BI. 
  • Pentaho: This is another visualization platform that uses data integration and analytical processing to generate insights. It also offers a number of mobile-friendly options that users can perform from their smartphones or tablets. It’s mainly used as a data migration tool, allowing users to easily move sets of data between different databases. While this is an effective tool for creating visualizations and analyzing big data, it can take more time to install compared with Tableau, especially for small and mid-size businesses. 
  • Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE): This tool is mainly used for complex, detailed data analysis. OBIEE can take data from multiple sources and integrate it automatically. However, OBIEE usually handles small data sets rather than large reports. It also has limited visualization options and a steep learning curve. The user may need extensive data analytics knowledge before using this tool. If your business needs to generate a lot of reports or you don’t have a team of data analysis experts on staff, then OBIEE may not be the best tool for you. 
  • SAS Visual Analytics (VA): The SAS VA platform provides data analytics and visualizations to enterprises. In this sense, Tableau and SAS VA are quite similar, but there are a few key differences between them. SAS VA can handle larger sets of data, which is why larger enterprises often use it. This usually isn’t an important factor for smaller enterprises. SAS VA takes more time to install and often requires help from a third party, whereas Tableau can be quickly and easily installed on a desktop computer. In general, SAS VA is great for exploratory data analysis and enterprises working with large sets of data, but it may be too much work to install for smaller enterprises that have limited staff, time, and resources.

Other Data Analysis Tools

  • RapidMiner: A self-service data analysis tool that lets users create their own algorithms and models. It essentially puts advanced data science in the hands of users who don’t have data science backgrounds. RapidMiner offers a local runtime so that users can test their models, saving time and resources. This is a very specific tool that doesn’t offer as many comprehensive self-service options like visualizations or reporting features.
  • QlikView: This tool uses in-memory data processing to store data and generate reports. QlikView also uses a unique color-coding system to show relationships and other patterns in the data. For example, one group of related data could be displayed in purple, while another group of unrelated data is displayed in green. The tool doesn’t have as many features as a more comprehensive software like Tableau, Power BI, OBIEE, Pentaho, or SAS VA, but it can process data very quickly.

You’re not limited to just one of these data analysis tools. For example, you can use Excel to filter data, Tableau to generate daily reports, and RapidMiner to test models. Or, you can hire a data analytics firm that uses a combination of the tools above to provide customers with a full range of services. Read on to learn more about which option is the right choice for your business.

Which Tool is Right for Your Business?

If you want to choose the best tool for your business, start by thinking about your strategy, infrastructure, timeline and budget. For example, if you want to implement a more effective fraud detection system, then you should look for tools that offer descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analysis features. If, on the other hand, you just want to generate more visually-engaging reports that you can show stakeholders every week, then focus on tools that offer robust visual aids.

Here are some of the top reasons why businesses choose each of the following data analytics tools:

  • Excel for very basic data collection, analysis and filtering. 
  • R programming for specific or unusual types of data analysis. You’ll need an R programming expert on staff to help you with this process. 
  • Power BI for generating daily and weekly reports or working on projects as a team. 
  • Tableau for creating beautiful, detailed visualizations and helping staff engage more with the data. 
  • Pentaho for creating reports from mobile devices and migrating data from one database to another. 
  • OBIEE for performing a deep, detailed analysis on very small data sets. 
  • SAS VA for performing exploratory data analysis and analyzing very large data sets. 
  • RapidMiner for data modeling. 
  • QlikView for extremely fast data processing.

The problem that many businesses face when they use a new data analysis tool is that the cost and learning curve are often quite high. Not only are advanced data analytics software licenses expensive, but it may also take weeks, months, or even years to fully transition to the new system. The fewer experienced data analytics experts you have on staff, the more complicated, time-consuming, and costly this process will be. The cost increases with every new tool you add to your system. 

This is why you need to come up with an effective data analysis strategy before you buy any new software licenses. Here’s how to develop the perfect strategy for your company.

How to Develop an Effective Data Analytics Strategy

The problem with many modern data analysis tools is that there’s a great deal of overlap in the services they provide. For instance, Tableau, Power BI, OBIEE, Pentaho, and SAS VA all provide platforms for analyzing data and generating visualizations. However, some tools are better at certain types of analysis than others. You would be hard-pressed to find a better visualization tool than Tableau, but SAS VA is a better tool for analyzing large sets of data. You’ll either have to buy licenses for both (which is prohibitively expensive for many businesses) or choose which option is most important to you. 

That said, you don’t have to compromise or spend more money than necessary. When you hire a data analysis firm that uses multiple types of analytics tools, you can have every feature without the added cost or effort. Firms charge a monthly service fee that gives you access to all of the best analytics tools. You’ll also only pay for what you actually use. If you don’t plan on doing any exploratory data analysis, for instance, then the firm can offer you a customized package that doesn’t include this feature. 

What’s more, these firms will even create a user-friendly dashboard that incorporates all of these tools in one place. You won’t have to switch between different platforms or manually move data from system to system. Everything you need is right at your fingertips. 

Every aspect of the analytics process, from data collection and governance to data processing and visualizations, are all provided by the firm. By hiring a team of experts to handle all of the licensing and installation steps for you, you’ll get to relax and enjoy all of the benefits of advanced data analysis. 

To incorporate state of the art data analytics tools into your business strategy, contact Tek Leaders today. Our team of data analytics experts will guide you to the best tools based on your unique needs. We’ll even help you with the data migration process, ensuring that all of your data is integrated seamlessly into the new software system. If you have more questions about this process, you can reach us by email directly.

Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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Cloud Computing for Small Businesses: An FAQ

There are a massive number of benefits to cloud computing for small businesses. The cloud helps you make the most out of your data and drives your business forward. 

But making this transition is often confusing and daunting. You may have dozens of questions. Is cloud computing right for your business? Which type of service should you choose? How do you prepare for this transition? 

This FAQ will answer every question you might have about cloud computing for small businesses. With this guide, you can take advantage of cloud computing and feel empowered to make the right choices for your enterprise.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the process of using off-premise servers to store, organize, and analyze data. You can then access all of this data from the internet. 

This process differs from traditional computing in that it doesn’t require you to have any on-premise infrastructure in place. You’ll use third-party hardware to manage your data. 

This means that you’ll no longer have to save your data to a hard drive or store it on magnetic tape. As long as you have a device that can connect to the internet and the third-party server, you have access to all of your data.

Does Your Business Need Cloud Computing? 

Most small businesses need cloud computing to operate efficiently. That’s because managing servers and data processing systems is costly and time-consuming. Cloud computing eliminates this problem, allowing small businesses to make the most out of their data at a fraction of the cost. 

If you’re wondering whether cloud computing is right for your small business or businesses, take a look at some of the primary benefits: 

  • No infrastructure. You won’t waste time or money building a server room, maintaining servers, or hiring IT staff to keep the system running smoothly. 
  • Customized solutions. If you no longer need a certain feature or set of data, you can get rid of it immediately. You can also add services whenever you introduce a new product. 
  • Better communication. Your staff has access to all of the data they need. They don’t have to hunt down a specific hard drive or sort through the archives to find information. 
  • Reliable. Software and hardware are constantly updated. You’ll have access to the latest and greatest technology. 
  • Secure. Data backups ensure you never lose important data. Everything is encrypted and only authorized users will have access to sensitive or private data. 

Cost-effective. You only pay for the services you use. You won’t have to invest in any hardware or infrastructure. This means you won’t lose money if equipment breaks down, becomes obsolete or depreciates in value.

If even one of these benefits applies to you, consider making the transition to the cloud.

How Much Does Cloud Computing Cost? 

Cloud computing for small businesses usually costs much less than it would for businesses to manage their own data on-site. There are a few reasons for this: 

  • You’re not responsible for the cost of the servers and hardware. A cloud computing provider pays for the servers and their maintenance. You only pay a very small fraction of this cost every month to use the hardware. Even if you pay this fee for many years, it still costs less than it would to operate your own servers.
  • You’ll experience less downtime. If equipment fails, you might have to pause daily operations. Every minute your system is down, you lose money. Trustworthy cloud computing providers have backup systems in place to prevent downtime. Most cloud providers guarantee at least 99 percent uptime, which is more than you could reasonably achieve on your own as a small enterprise with limited staff and resources. 
  • You pay for what you use. If you use your own hardware or buy software licenses, you’re stuck paying for every feature these include. With cloud computing, you can negotiate a monthly price based on the specific services you need. When your needs change, you can drop or add services immediately.

The exact cost of cloud computing varies depending on the provider you use and which services you need. The best cloud computing providers will offer custom pricing options for each enterprise.

How Safe is Cloud Computing for Small Businesses?

Cloud computing is very safe, especially when you work with a trustworthy provider. However, there are still a few security considerations you should keep in mind as you make this transition. 

  • Can your data be restored? Make sure the provider backs up your data in a secure location. 
  • How is the data stored? Providers should use encryption, user authentication and physical security features at server warehouses to prevent data leaks and unauthorized access. 
  • Are there built-in redundancies? Cloud providers should have backup hardware and power sources in case the main hardware or power source is down. 
  • Is the provider aware of compliance standards in your industry? Check that the provider is capable of keeping your customers’ private information safe.  
  • Does the provider use fraud detection software? The best providers use the power of big data and analytics to flag suspicious account activity and prevent would-be intruders from accessing information. 

It’s impossible to create a data storage and processing system that is 100 percent safe. Every system has potential security vulnerabilities, including cloud computing for small businesses. The best way to avoid these issues is to talk with prospective cloud providers and learn what they’re doing to protect customers’ data.

Which Is Better, the Public Cloud or the Private Cloud?

For small businesses, a public cloud is a much better choice than a private cloud. 

A private cloud is a cloud computing strategy in which a business owns and manages the entire system. They use their own servers, web portals and data warehouses. They do this because they have more control over every aspect of the process. They can identify and close potential security loopholes themselves. 

But a private cloud system is costly and time-consuming. It requires a massive amount of resources and infrastructure—resources that many small businesses don’t have. You have to hire a team of IT experts to manage the system full-time. It’s usually more difficult for in-house IT teams to change technical and strategic direction quickly compared with public cloud computing service providers. It also may take your team more time to phase out obsolete equipment or add new services.

A public cloud is a better fit for small businesses. A public cloud is a cloud computing strategy in which the business uses third-party servers and hardware. The cloud provider takes care of all of the details, including infrastructure and management. 

This is a great option because it lets you focus on running your business. When you go with a reliable provider, the system is secure. You won’t have to hire an IT department to manage your data in the cloud. You can move from one project to the next without worrying about technology system and staff scaling.

Which Cloud Computing Service Should You Use?

If you’ve decided to use a cloud computing provider to handle every detail for you, then the next step is to consider what type of service your business will need. 

Here are the main options: 

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The provider manages the hardware and software, providing a full range of services to your business. You can access your data through a web portal. The provider can also perform other tasks for you, such as data analysis, data recovery and IT support. This is a good option for small businesses that need to store a lot of data. 
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): The provider creates and manages software that makes it easier to run your business. For a monthly or annual fee, you get access to the software features you need. This saves you from having to buy multiple software licenses or create your own software. This is best for businesses that just want to operate more efficiently and don’t require any advanced data analytics or storage. 
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): This service is almost identical to IaaS. The only difference is that a PaaS provider will also provide business intelligence portals, business strategies and custom data management options. This is the best choice for small businesses that need help harnessing the power of BI or are in the process of creating a new product or service and need some extra support. 
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS): The provider only makes backups of important data and ensures that these backups are stored securely. This is a good option if you’re satisfied with your current data processing strategy and you just want an extra layer of security. 

In general, an IaaS or PaaS system will be most beneficial for your small business. Some providers even offer both types of services to best meet your needs. For example, you may start off using an IaaS system, but if you want to launch a new product or website, then you can switch to a PaaS system until the product is on the market. 

How Do You Prepare for Cloud Computing?

A little prep work now can save you time and money in the future when you transition to the cloud. Here are a few things you should do before you hire a cloud computing service provider: 

  1. Upgrade your network bandwidth. To use cloud computing, small businesses need to ensure that their internet connection is reliable and fast. With so much data moving across the network every month, you don’t want to face unexpected bandwidth overage fees. 
  2. Create a basic cloud strategy. What do you hope to accomplish? Are there any aspects of your business’ operations that you’d like to improve? Even if you’re unsure whether the cloud computing provider can solve all of these issues, you should still bring them up. The provider may offer more services than you expect.
  3. Read case studies. Reliable providers often have case studies or client testimonials on their websites. You may find ideas on how to manage your own business when you look at what other enterprises have done with cloud computing. 
  4. Hire supporting staff. You may want to hire a fractional CTO before you begin transitioning to cloud computing. A fractional CTO will handle all of the tasks related specifically to this transition. They can troubleshoot problems and keep your staff on track, making the cloud computing transition seamless. 

These steps are merely suggestions. A great cloud computing provider will work with you to ensure that your business successfully makes the transition as smoothly as possible. But when you do these four things in advance, it may make the process easier and faster. 

How Do You Transition to the Cloud?

The best way to transition to cloud computing is to hire an experienced cloud services provider.  The provider will: 

  • Develop a service level agreement (SLA) based on your needs; 
  • Help you decide on an effective business strategy using cloud computing tools; 
  • Move workloads to the cloud;
  • Outsource IT services to support the new cloud computing strategy;
  • Backup and secure data;
  • Create user portals to access data; and 
  • Provide customized reports, visualizations and data analytics software. 

It all happens relatively quickly—some small businesses can transition within just a few weeks, and others within a few months. Once you have a strategy in place and have signed the SLA, the rest of the process is straightforward. You don’t have to do any heavy lifting. 

If you choose not to hire a cloud computing services provider and wish to do the work yourself, the process will be much more complicated and time-consuming. It requires a greater understanding of how cloud computing works. You’ll also need to create your own software or find the appropriate software licenses for your business. This is why it’s wiser for small businesses to outsource their cloud computing needs.

Do You Need to Train Your Staff to Use the New System?

You generally don’t have to train your staff on how to use the new system. The cloud computing provider often creates a user-friendly web portal that your staff can access to generate reports and view data. This system is designed to be very simple to use, even if you have little experience with computers or cloud processing. Training takes just a few minutes.

Do You Have More Questions About Cloud Computing for Small Businesses?

We want to hear from you. If you have a specific question about your business or you have another question that this guide did not cover, you can get in touch with us directly to learn more. We strive to provide our clients with all of the information and tools they need to make the best choices for their businesses. We’ll help you make the transition to the cloud quickly and easily, allowing you to take full advantage of this powerful technology. 

If you have more questions about cloud computing for small business, or you’re ready to make the transition now, contact Tek Leaders. We work closely with small businesses to find the best cloud computing solutions for their needs. If you want to learn more about our services, you can reach us by email directly.

Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.

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