Jul 08 2022

Backup and Recovery Requirements Evolve in an Era of Cloud Complexity

The shift to cloud-based services and solutions and the growing volume of data collected by the healthcare industry require robust data backup and recovery solutions.

Healthcare organizations increasingly are being targeted by malicious actors perpetrating ransomware schemes and other cyberattacks, which makes a robust strategy for data backup and recovery critical.

The evolution of cloud-based data storage, off-premises solutions, cloud-enabled services such as telemedicine, and the rapid rise of a remote work force have also underscored the importance of backup and recovery solutions.

Veritas Healthcare CTO Rick Bryant points out that backup and disaster recovery capabilities have been required of healthcare organizations by law since HIPAA was enacted in 1996.

“They’re expected to be up and be resilient in the face of all adversity, and the past two years demonstrated more adversity than I think we’ve ever had in our healthcare system, and also illustrates how critical it is to the health of the country,” he says.

Bryant says that, from his perspective, backup is table stakes for healthcare, while the real issue is data recovery.

“The big independent software vendors like Cerner and Epic are now requiring data immutability because of the threats of ransomware,” he says. “We’ve been working with the industry to take the requirement for backup and turn it into real resiliency, giving organizations the confidence and the capabilities to recover within a certain period of time.”

DISCOVER: How Veritas ensures the protection, recoverability and compliance of healthcare data.

How Healthcare Organizations Can Approach Data Recovery

To that end, Veritas provides a resiliency platform that recovers copies of data from the backup in the sequence that the provider wants; for example, bringing up the database before opening the application, which occurs before the client level opens, or allowing users to recover either on-premises or in the cloud platform of their choice. 

Veritas offers a portfolio of backup and recovery solutions, including NetBackup, NetBackup IT Analytics (formerly known as APTARE), and Enterprise Vault.

NetBackup combines automation, artificial intelligence and a scalable architecture to improve agility and data security across any cloud, says Bryant.

“It allows you to protect your workloads onsite, between sites, and to and from the cloud through a single pane of glass, even as the industry is sprawling out and embracing more cloud services than ever due to the pandemic,” he says. “If they migrate workloads from on-premises to the cloud, their licensing does as well.”

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He adds that because Veritas appliances are built with a zero-trust architecture from day one, once the data gets into the appliances, it is protected from ransomware and any other zero-day vulnerabilities.

With NetBackup IT Analytics, Bryant explains, healthcare organizations can monitor their compute storage, network bandwidth, cloud use and ingress/egress fees, which trigger alerts when unusual activity is detected.

“That is something that we’ve tied to cyber resiliency, because similar to the deduplication rate and backup times going up, a high storage input/output rate is a good indicator that something’s being encrypted,” he says. “It’s the same thing with CPU utilization. We use that holistically to manage the environment.”

The Value Proposition of Data Recovery for Healthcare Organizations

Bryant notes that the tool itself helps organizations reduce their overall storage costs by as much as 20 percent, a value proposition that helps pay for the cyber resiliency project.

“We use this data to help organizations better understand where their data is and how to control their costs and their data,” Bryant says.

Veritas’ Enterprise Vault service lets healthcare organizations harness their communications — including more than 80 different types of communication, from email to social media —  and automatically identifies the most relevant content to ensure compliance and to curate for value.

“It creates a bigger picture of what’s really going on,” Bryant says. “Say you want to develop a new treatment protocol for diabetes. You probably want to talk to your top endocrinologist. But instead of just talking to one or two endocrinologists, you could harvest all the communications and treatment protocols within your endocrinology department to come up with a best practice.”

EXPLORE: Why storage and backups are a key component of healthcare cybersecurity.

In the wake of the pandemic, Bryant has noticed a better partnership between the clinicians and the technology team.

“We’re having those conversations proactively about a healthcare organization’s existing technologies, to help design the IT disaster resiliency that’s needed,” he explains.

This collaboration between IT teams and clinicians allows them to have real conversations about resiliency, which applications need to come up and what order.

“We’ve seen more adoption of Software as a Service and cloud-based solutions in healthcare in the past two years than in the past 10 years combined, mostly because of the pandemic,” Bryant says. “What they’ve also started to realize is that it’s the healthcare organization’s responsibility to protect those cloud assets.”

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