Nov 10 2023

Navigating the Evolving Healthcare Cloudscape with a Multicloud-by-Design Strategy

Organizing cloud technologies under one roof can create a more safe, efficient and cost-effective tech environment for healthcare organizations.

Many healthcare organizations rely on a range of vendor platforms, encompassing both private and public cloud providers, to meet their IT requirements. Because healthcare organizations are composed of different lines of businesses with diverse needs, the array of solutions and providers can grow to a seemingly unmanageable mix.

“Many organizations wind up in a multicloud-by-default scenario. Yes, the organizations have attained a certain degree of multicloud capability, but it often isn’t the result of a fully calculated plan to get there,” says Michael Fredericks, global APEX and multicloud healthcare lead for Dell Global Industries. “Rather, what we advocate for is a multicloud-by-design strategy.”

Creating an intentional multicloud strategy and architecture helps organizations minimize complexity and cost while maximizing efficiency and flexibility.

“When a healthcare organization steps back and decides to work with a trusted partner like Dell Technologies, we can often show them a simpler and more flexible way to bring commonality and efficiency to wherever workloads run,” Fredericks says, adding that a multicloud-by-design approach helps an organization standardize operations, which improves reliability and compliance posture and can drive down total cost of ownership and operations.

DISCOVER: Dell Technologies helps healthcare organizations achieve multicloud agility.

The Benefits of a Multicloud Approach for Healthcare

Because many healthcare organizations have distinct operational silos, their leaders may not fully understand how multicloud solutions can simplify operations, Fredericks says.

“I have clients that operate in silos — one group functions by operating exclusively with a particular public cloud provider and its native offerings, while another group in the same organization pursues an entirely different approach. They usually come to me and say, ‘How do I bring some sanity to this?’” Fredericks says.

As we work with healthcare organizations, we find that that each entity has unique needs and business drivers. For some, bringing common tools and building blocks to their workloads helps alleviate a lot of complexities and inefficiencies while helping them operate within a model they are familiar with. For others, business drivers may be forcing a radically different approach requiring, for example, the relocation of entire workloads from IT data centers to specialized, healthcare-oriented cloud service provider locations. To maximize flexibility and customizability, the Dell Alliances Healthcare Cloud framework can be an attractive solution and can deliver benefits that include:

  • Simplified space from moving workloads out of their data centers to support decommissioning efforts
  • Improved efficiency and usability from moving workloads and data to within milliseconds of all major cloud providers so that they can be accessed and shared more easily
  • Predictable billing where the monthly costs of a cloud-adjacent partner are considerably more reliable and less complex than customers sometimes find when operating in the public cloud
  • Better operations and security from offloading many higher-level security, operational and healthcare application-specific management functions as part of the monthly fee when selecting the appropriate providers 

Click below to learn how to optimize healthcare’s connection to the hybrid cloud.

Multicloud Strategy: Where Healthcare Organizations Should Start

The process of implementing a multicloud strategy begins with evaluating current systems and how they are performing. Fredericks says a comprehensive assessment should include the costs, security, functionality and performance of the existing cloud infrastructure.

“As we peel back the layers of a client’s workload, we can get a better understanding of where a system needs to run based on cost, performance, technology and flexibility. Then we get a better understanding of how to project a common set of tools to those locations,” Fredericks says. Creating a tailored strategy for each customer is important.

“One customer may say, ‘My data center is 30 years old, in a flood zone, and our organization can’t physically house one anymore. I need to do something different.’ We can then strategize on what different looks like for that organization,” he says.

Ultimately, when Dell Technologies creates a multicloud solution that is tailored to an organization’s needs, it aims to implement a set of tools — a holistic solution — that reduces the burden on staff and frees them up for more meaningful activities in the organization, wherever possible.

EXPLORE: Learn how healthcare can optimize cloud connectivity.

How Multicloud Supports Healthcare’s Compliance and Security Goals

“The complexities of compliance and regulation cannot be understated in healthcare,” Fredericks says. Some customers may choose to avoid public cloud altogether because of varying operational, financial, competitive and compliance reasons. Others may find that adopting some public cloud services brings great value, but it’s important to keep compliance and security in mind.

“Healthcare privacy laws continue to change. How and where you run your workloads today may no longer be compliant tomorrow. This is why a well-thought-out and flexible strategy should be in place to allow your organization to adapt quickly,” Fredericks says.

When it comes to security, a multicloud-by-design strategy provides a safer environment compared with a multicloud-by-default approach, he explains.

“Many multicloud implementations today don’t strengthen security posture. In some cases, they even make it worse,” Fredericks says. “Different workloads running in different places by different groups and on disparate technologies make it very difficult for an organization to demonstrate and improve their security posture.”

“Until recently, there was a prevailing sentiment that ‘multicloud’ implied seamless, automated migration of applications between cloud providers based on features, cost and latency. However, we’ve seen that this is very difficult to achieve and too costly and complex for most healthcare organizations to tackle,” Fredericks says. “Nevertheless, this doesn’t negate the benefit to healthcare organizations of a thoughtful and standardized approach to workload placement.”

“The goal is to work through a well-designed plan based on accurate data,” he adds. “Then select as many common and portable operational technologies and processes as possible so that, while you implement what is immediate, your organization is set up for what is next.”

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