Cloud computing services are a popular option among dental practices. It enables practices to delegate management of IT functions to a dedicated team, and saves the practice from having to invest in the hardware and storage capabilities required, especially as it grows in size.
At the same time, a lot of misinformation about just what benefits and drawbacks there are to cloud usage goes around. To help dental practices separate fact from fiction, we’ve debunked five of the most common cloud-related myths.
Myth 1: The cloud isn’t safe
The lack of visibility that comes from cloud services being managed off site has led to a perception that dental practice data in the cloud is more susceptible to attacks. This perception, however, is not rooted in reality.
The truth is cloud systems are subject to stringent data security measures, including regular and rigorous audits and strict access rights. Cloud service providers (CSPs) regularly invest in developing their security systems and training protocols to keep their guard up against the latest threats, as well as employing regular patches for their software and putting firewalls in place. All this makes cloud systems no easier to attack than others.
In fact, traditional server-based systems can actually be more vulnerable to cyberattacks, especially due to the technology being well known to cybercriminals. Meanwhile, physical storage systems are vulnerable to break-in thefts, as well as damage due to wear and tear and environmental factors.
Myth 2: Dental practices have no control over cloud-stored data
Another misconception is that off-site management means that the practice itself will have less control over their own data. The fact that CSPs manage the cloud on behalf of clients doesn’t mean practices don’t have a say in how data is treated or protected.
As far as accessibility goes, cloud-based data is always reached by those with the proper clearance, and is no more out of reach than data on server-based systems. Likewise, a practice would have just as much ability to restrict access to those it wants to block from sensitive data sets. This includes other companies contracting the CSP and whose data is stored in the same cloud, as clients sharing a network space don’t necessarily have keyed access to one another’s data. Additionally, CSPs will provide data encryption, making data unreadable to those who obtain it outside the proper channels.
Myth 3: Cloud platforms pose major compliance risks
Much suspicion surrounds cloud platforms because they’re perceived as new and untrustworthy. However, any certified CSP that offers their services to clients in the healthcare industry ensures their systems and policies comply with requirements for the storage of electronic healthcare records. This includes the rules enforced by governing bodies such as HIPAA and the GDPR. More specifically, a dental practice-oriented CSP protects data confidentiality, integrity, and availability through a combination of encryption, threat prevention tools, access controls, and data backups.
Myth 4: Migrating to the cloud will hinder operations
This myth is one that’s closely tied to misconceptions about the availability and speed of data access due to the cloud’s off-site nature. The truth, however, is that with a reliable, high-speed internet connection, access to cloud-based data is just as seamless as with local systems. In addition, the point-of-use access, system resilience, and real-time backups associated with cloud systems can guarantee close to 100% uptime to users.
Myth 5: The cloud is expensive
The costs associated with cloud storage is an understandable concern among practices considering making the switch to the cloud. The fact that CSPs will charge for both storage and infrastructure services often has practices wondering whether their money would be better spent elsewhere.
However, it should be considered that paying for the hardware needed to store large quantities of data upfront could just as easily add up, and often cost more. Given that dental practices will need a lot of storage for space-heavy diagnostic and imaging data, paying for cloud services that scale more easily and are available in packaged bundles from CSPs is much more cost-effective.
When it comes to cloud services, it can be a challenge to pierce through all the fog of hearsay and rumor. Contact Pact-One Solutions now to set the record straight and get your dental practice off on the right foot.