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Healthcare Data: Key Considerations Around Storage, Access and Security

By: Brad Kilbey, senior vice president, Public Sector, Healthcare & Utilities

Over the course of the past six months, I’ve become engrossed with the transformation underway within healthcare IT — attending conferences, reading articles, listening to webinars and meeting with thought leaders in this space. The way in which data is being leveraged for better patient outcomes is inspiring and astounding.

After hearing individuals speak about population health, clinical informatics, telehealth and EHRs, it’s clear that the growth trend in data generation is long-lasting. The industry is rapidly approaching the zettabyte era in terms of the enormous amount of data generated — by some estimates, about 30 percent of the world’s stored data. All of that data is enabling some remarkable advancements: remote monitoring, telehealth and precision medicine.

The question I continue to ask myself is “where will this data reside and how will it be accessed/leveraged?” These are the questions that healthcare IT professionals face on a daily basis. In regard to where data will reside, there are several options: existing private data centers, third-party data centers, the cloud or a hybrid combination. Some providers are managing multiple private data centers, sometimes the result of M&A, which has been prevalent in healthcare. For a growing number of providers, however, operating these facilities is not a core competency so they are turning to third-party colocation providers or cloud-based solutions and infrastructure.

Today’s outsourced infrastructure solutions can meet the stringent privacy and security requirements of healthcare providers. In some cases, providers opt to manage mission-critical data and applications on their own servers, either in their own facility or a third-party data center, and store records with object-based storage, which provides a highly economical solution for a petabyte of storage at a fraction of the price of traditional storage technologies.

The right network technology and architecture are also keys to an infrastructure foundation that is dedicated, secure and resilient. Increasingly, our healthcare clients are upgrading their networks, incorporating dark fiber that provides the optimal solution in terms of capacity and control. Others are adding lit capacity — bigger pipes for higher volumes of data, with full physical diversity. With patient care on the line, providers can’t afford disruptive and costly downtime.

While there are solutions providers that can provide niche offerings in select markets, Zayo is uniquely positioned to assist our healthcare clients globally as they tackle the questions of how best to manage growing volumes of data. We’re a single source provider, with an extensive infrastructure footprint. In addition to operating more than 50 of our own state-of-the art data centers throughout the US and Europe, Zayo also offers its own cloud infrastructure solutions. For those who’ve already made the strategic decision to host their data with another industry-leading cloud provider, Zayo’s CloudLink offering provides connectivity to more than 50 public cloud environments.  And whether it’s providing connectivity to/from a private data center, a third party data center and/or the cloud, Zayo’s global network provides clients the ability to access and share data via a variety of technologies (dark fiber, wavelengths, ethernet, MPLS) in a secure, reliable and scalable manner.

The transformation within the healthcare industry is both exciting and challenging. We look forward to sitting down with you and exploring how Zayo can help you and your organization on its journey.

Brad Kilbey is the SVP of Public Sector, Healthcare and Utilities. Brad has more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry, serving in a variety of cross-functional leadership roles.  

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