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Are you a healthcare startup or entrepreneur in the process of choosing HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting? If your business hosts electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI), then this should be top of mind as you research hosting options and explore the first steps in launching your company.
ePHI is highly confidential information containing the medical information of individuals. This healthcare data or information is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). And, as soon as your business gains access to ePHI, you need to ensure all partners and touchpoints to that information are HIPAA compliant — particularly the provider that will serve as the home base for all of your users’ confidential and legally protected health information.
For an in-depth look at everything you need to know around the history, risks, and precautions of investing in the development of HIPAA compliant software, read this article: Things You Need to Know in Developing HIPAA-Compliant Healthcare Software.
In this article, we’ll look at the questions you need to ask a cloud provider during your vetting process and 10 HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting options you should consider in your search.
Questions to Ask a Provider Before Choosing HIPAA Compliant Cloud Hosting
As you go through the process of selecting cloud hosting providers, you’ll want to tailor your questions and risk assessments to your specific business and experience. However, these questions can give you a foundation on which to build your search.
- What technical safeguards does the cloud hosting provider have in place to protect your users’ confidential ePHI? Will they sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA)? Because the hosting provider will be providing the safekeeping for ePHI, you need a formal agreement in place to ensure they are legally responsible for the safekeeping of this information. A BAA is a legally binding contract you’ll need in place with the provider.
- Do they have HITECH certification in order to guarantee their ability to properly safeguard ePHI?
- What is the level of security around the hosting provider’s data center location? What are their technical safeguards? Not only should you be concerned with their cybersecurity precautions, but you also want to be aware of the physical precautions that are in place.
- What level of service will the provider guarantee? Are they accessible at all times should you need access to a customer service representative or tech support? Should something go awry with ePHI, it often cannot wait until the next business day.
- What plan do they have in place in case of a data breach? Worst-case scenarios do happen and you want peace of mind knowing there is a plan should something go wrong. The provider should be prepared to take responsibility for disaster recovery and remedy data breaches or losses in a timely and efficient manner.
With these 5 critical questions in mind, you may be able to choose from the top options you have for HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting.
Top 10 HIPAA Compliant Cloud Hosting Options for Startups and Enterprises
With customers across 42 countries, Armor emphasizes their best-in-class security and 24/7 threat detection as the key reasons to choose their service. They also have internal teams available to work with those looking to achieve HIPAA compliance.
Atlantic has seven international data centers, a support team at the ready day and night, and consulting available to help companies navigate the road to HIPAA compliance.
With attorney-designed software, TrueVault provides customers with flat-rate pricing to reach compliance. $5,000 for any business, large or small. Additionally, they provide guidance from start to finish to get compliant and stay compliant.
It will sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with you upon account activation to guarantee customer protection.
4. Amazon Web Services AWS
AWS Cloud solutions offer a cost-effective option with a respected name and security. You can choose a pay-as-you-go option to avoid a long-term contract.
5. Microsoft Azure
Azure provides scalable cloud access through a secure VPN directly connected to Microsoft. You can work within Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to streamline multiple processes within one home.
6. Google Cloud
With secure-by-design infrastructure and a suite of healthcare and life science-specific solutions to address your enterprise’s needs, Google Cloud is a major player within the HIPAA compliant cloud world.
7. Liquid Web
Liquid Web promises 99.999% uptime guarantee and day and night access to their support team. Their on-site security is manned 24/7/365 and includes video and fire protection. Services start at $343 monthly.
Designed with healthcare providers in mind, SmartVault offers centralized online document cloud storage, paperless document workflow, and HIPAA compliant secure file sharing to improve efficiencies across your teams.
9. HIPAA Vault
Constantly monitored, HIPAA Vault offers less-than-15-minute response times on critical alerts and 90% are resolved on the first call, thanks to 24/7 live tech availability.
An innovator in the life sciences space and healthcare industry, Rackspace, offers cloud solutions and technologies to cover your enterprise from diagnostics through patient outcomes.
So, how do you make a decision in choosing a HIPAA compliant cloud hosting option when users’ confidential ePHI or healthcare data is on the line, as well as your reputation and success as a startup or enterprise?
There will be risk assessments involved to make sure there’s a guaranteed HIPAA-compliant hosting solution. While cost will certainly play a role, the focus should be on how each provider was able to align with your goals and the answers to your questions in the previous section.
And, for more information and a first-person use case, watch our interview with Healthtech Entrepreneur, Gorkem Sevinc, about his experience developing HIPAA compliant software. He discusses the decisions that Technology Rivers helped guide, thanks to their experience and expertise working with clients in the health tech space.