Security Challenges Of Cloud Computing In Healthcare Industry Assignment

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Security Challenges of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
Cristin J. Clement
Lindsey E. Griffin
Treasure Ritchey
Jarquesha Washington
University of Louisiana Monroe
BMBA 5009
Dr. Peggy Lane
April 18, 2019




The evolution of technology has promoted efficiency throughout many industries. One of
the most cost-effective types of technology that companies have embraced is cloud computing.
The term cloud computing was coined in 2006 and can be defined as “the practice of using a
network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a
local server or a personal computer” (Google, 2019). It is a new way of utilizing computer
generated resources and services, but it is not new technology. Cloud computing provides users
with an incredible amount of computing resources on demand, saves companies the cost of
servers and other equipment, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some examples
of the use of the cloud include Netflix and Google Docs. While cloud computing has been used
in business, education and national security, it has contributed substantially to the healthcare
industry as well. Some healthcare related applications include Microsoft HealthVault and Apple
Health. Healthcare is continuously in need of systematic modernization to remain efficient, costeffective and able to offer superior quality service. The technology of cloud computing is the
answer to the healthcare industry’s every day needs but comes with some challenges intact.
Cloud computing challenges specific to healthcare include security and privacy, data
ownership, and availability of resources. Digital storage for healthcare data is a significant turn
for the healthcare industry and is also challenging to keep secure. Multiple cloud service
providers pool patient data in a centralized location to be utilized by various healthcare workers.
This open environment poses high security concerns and puts patient data at risk for
unauthorized access (AbuKhousa, Mohamed, & Al-Jaroodi, 2012). Fear of losing ownership of
data may prevent organizations from investing in and implementing cloud computing (Snell,
2017). Continuous availability of patient data is vital for healthcare providers. Therefore, the



uninterrupted, high-quality performance of cloud services is a constant challenge in the
healthcare industry (AbuKhousa et al., 2012). Cloud computing benefits healthcare organizations
if they are implemented correctly. Throughout different sections of this paper organizational
benefits, risks, cost, and success factors of cloud computing in healthcare organizations will be
discussed and the overall security challenges of cloud computing in the healthcare industry and
how managers can prevent these barriers from affecting their organization. Suggested revision:
This paper will focus on the overall security challenges of cloud computing in the healthcare
industry with discussions about the benefits, risks, cost, and success factors involved and how
managers can prevent these barriers from affecting their organizations.
Implementation Issues with Security of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
Cloud computing plays a crucial role in assimilating healthcare costs, improving
resources, and creating and executing innovation (Ahuja, Mani, & Zambrano, 2012). The cloud
is very useful and beneficial to the healthcare industry because it allows medical personnel to
instantly access patient information anytime from anyplace. However, these files have to be
safeguarded, and healthcare companies have had difficulties implementing certain security
practices to protect patient information.
Privacy and security seem to be some of the biggest concerns the healthcare industry
faces with cloud computing. It is critical that those who offer cloud computing services are aware
of the security implications in public clouds and prepare to discourse the healthcare
organizations as they fulfill the requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) set in place by the federal government. According to Dr.
Carolina Klein, “The government has long recognized the importance of regulating the privacy
and security of electronic personal records” (2011, p. 571). They have done this by creating The



Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) who formed the
HIPAA privacy laws. Ultimately, it is up to the healthcare provider to ensure that HIPAA
privacy laws are met since the software does not verify whether the privacy rules are compliant
or noncompliant (Klein, 2011).
The design of security standards is meant to be impartial to technology and accommodate
any change that may arise within the technological features. Assuring that medical health
information is safely and securely stored is one of the essential jobs that cloud computing
companies have daily (Ahuja et al., 2012). Fortunately for the cloud computing vendors, they are
not held to the same laws and standards that the healthcare facilities face. There are, however,
some privacy guidelines that the Cloud Security Alliance has published that contain a list of best
practices that ought to be adopted and instilled in the cloud to obtain “maximum security in the
Service as a Platform (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) models” (Ahuja et al., 2012, p.
The first implementation issue associated with the security of cloud computing in
healthcare is a situation where individuals have gained access to the system from outside the
firewall due to all services being transported through the Internet leading to data leakage
(Bollineni & Neupane, 2011). Data leakage can be anything from an employee sharing
information with an outside source to the physical removal of tapes from an establishment.
Either way, data leakage is a security issue and can be prevented through a secure cloud
computing environment.
Another implementation issue associated with the security of cloud computing in
healthcare is data segregation. Since the data is stored on the same server or in the same data
center, it could cause patients to question whether or not the information is mismatched. Failure



of the cloud to steadily detach and separate the storage and memory of each user could
compromise the integrity of the data (Bollineni & Neupane, 2011).
Deletion of data is another implementation issue associated with the security of cloud
computing in healthcare. Again, most consumer data is centrally stored on the same server, hard
disk, or in the same data center. If a healthcare company decides they are no longer in need of
cloud services, the data they have already submitted to the cloud would be difficult to delete
entirely. It is hard to delete the data because the only way to completely remove all the data
would be to rewrite the disk with random data and reformat the hard disk of the server, which is
impossible to do. So, there continuously remains the risk of recuperating the erased data
(Bollineni & Neupane, 2011).
Data lock-in is an implementation issue because customers that store their information on
the cloud through data centers have realized that the information was easily uploaded into the
cloud but difficult to extract. Organizations are timid of adopting the use of the cloud due to the
difficulty associated with extraction of individuals’ data. Data lock-in is considered to be
excellent for cloud computing companies, but a negative thing for users as they incur price
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