Cloud Migration in Healthcare: Determine Your Workload Strategy Up Front

For providers moving data or infrastructure off-premises, planning ahead can pay dividends down the road.

Increasingly, healthcare organizations are moving their infrastructures, information, or both to the cloud to boost scalability and data accessibility. According to a recent Datica survey, for instance, 60 percent of responding hospital CIOs called cloud hosting a top 10 priority.

But while many IT leaders approach a cloud migration knowing what they want to get out of it, how they complete the task can still prove challenging.

The main question on their minds is “What will my workload strategy look like?”

Strategizing ahead of time is crucial not only to avoiding financial and security pitfalls, but also to minimizing overall operational risk. Here are some planning tips for hospital IT leaders to consider when migrating to the cloud.

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: Ensure your healthcare cloud storage stays HIPAA compliant.

Review Application Architecture and Coupling

First and foremost, conduct an application assessment to understand if you need to replatform, re-code, re-architect, or retire an application. From there, you can identify what kind of architecture is necessary, whether your goal is to leverage Infrastructure as a Service or Platform as a Service.

Each application requires strong architecture to meet its complexity needs. Microsoft’s Cloud Application Architecture Guide does a good job of differentiating between the various architecture styles, from N-tier (also known as multitier architecture) to microservices, which comprises many independent services, to Big Data, in which parallel processing takes place on one large dataset that’s broken up into smaller pieces.

You’ll also need to determine your current application coupling status. For example, if you have two applications that are coupled together, and you move one to the cloud and keep one on premise, you could wind up incurring latency or performance issues.

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Set Up a Proper Governance Structure and Keep Education Top of Mind

Prior to migration, it’s also imperative to define governance to ensure the proper processes, procedures, policies and accounts are defined. Additionally, it’s vital to continue such governance and account hygiene throughout the lifecycle of adopting IaaS to help optimize both security and cost.

Finally, be sure to train your staff on what will be required before, during and after the transition.  Education is key when moving to IaaS; it’s important to understand that IaaS is a shared responsibility model

By mapping out cloud migration strategies ahead of time, healthcare organizations can get the most out of such transitions more quickly. CDW’s cloud consulting services can help to ensure your workload strategy hits all the proper notes and puts your migration on the right track.

This article is part of HealthTech’s MonITor blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using #WellnessIT.

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Jirapong Manustrong/Getty Images
Feb 18 2019

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