Jun 07 2021

Automation and Security Can Help Healthcare Organizations Get Ahead

Servers can do more for healthcare organizations than store data — they can also automate security tasks, providing IT departments peace of mind.

IT security is important for every company and organization, but the healthcare industry faces unique challenges. Not only do these organizations’ systems need to be HIPAA compliant, but the industry also had to adopt new technologies quickly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as the pandemic lessens across the U.S., many healthcare organizations are focusing on how to position themselves going forward.

During a recent CDW Tech Talk, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Allen Whipple, North American server security and server software subject matter expert, explained how healthcare organizations can use advanced technologies, such as automation in a secure environment, to get ahead of the competition.

Data center automation — the managing and automating of a data center’s workflows and processes — is one area in which healthcare organizations can set themselves apart. A recent report from Mordor Intelligence states, “The boom in social networking analytics, cloud computing and mobile computing is projected to positively impact the need for automation and data centers.” The report also notes that automation plays a vital role in data centers by performing looked-for tasks. It can eliminate errors, save time and optimize processes for better cost savings.

Enabling All of a Server’s Features Provides Peace of Mind

Just because a healthcare organization has installed a server doesn’t mean it’s getting the most out of that equipment, said Whipple.

“We tend to have this habit of buying a server, turning it on, installing our application or using it for whatever purpose we need, then forgetting it,” he said. “We don’t take the time to go in and say, ‘Well, what can this server really do for me?’ Specific to HPE servers, there are so many great features that require just a little bit of user interface to enable, specifically around security.”

Enabling the security features provided by HPE’s Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) server management platform allows healthcare organizations to set up daily automatic firmware checks. Knowing that firmware components are being checked every day can offer organizations peace of mind, Whipple said.

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: What health IT leaders should know about infrastructure as code.

“In the unlikely event that one of those pieces a firmware is altered, once you go in and set it up, you can have it automatically recover, or flash that firmware to the last known good state. If you’re a customer, that should be music to your ears, right? You know your server’s going out and checking the firmware down to that base level, the first place your server goes when it’s powered on,” he said.

The HPE ProLiant Gen 10 server includes a processor designed completely by the company. A piece of HPE’s firmware is embedded in the chip to improve security. HPE’s new Gen 10 Plus server builds on that technology using the same processor but with added features such as platform certificates and device identification.

Modern Data Centers Save Time Using Automation and AI

A modern data center should employ automation features and AI-powered tools. At HPE, those tools include OneView and InfoSight.

“With HPE OneView, you have the ability to automate simple tasks. Imagine having the ability to create a server profile template so when you bring new servers online, you just apply that template and — boom! — that server is up and running,” said Whipple. “Imagine having the ability to update firmware and to schedule those firmware updates after hours or at night and have those roll out without stressing out your IT department. Imagine consistent health insight into your server environment and being able to automatically order parts and fix issues that occur.”

HPE’s InfoSight tool uses advanced analytics to look for common issues. Its visuals allow healthcare IT departments to see the system’s environment, from the health of the system to the firmware and service contracts. Once the AI finds a problem, the tool finds a patch and applies it to that server and all other servers in the global network.

Allen Whipple
When we automate processes, it frees up time and resources, and allows us to be intuitive and to grow and expand.”

Allen Whipple North American Server Security and Server Software Subject Matter Expert, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

“AI is continually learning. It’s studying the servers, and it’s going to go out and automatically resolve 86 percent of issues,” said Whipple.

This technology can reduce human error and support business transformation because the healthcare organization’s IT department won’t have to spend time trying to figure out what’s wrong with the system infrastructure. Instead, department leadership can focus on the future and what the organization needs to grow.

“When we automate processes, it frees up time and resources, and allows us to be intuitive and to grow and expand,” said Whipple.

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