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The Importance of Data Backup and Recovery in Healthcare IT

With the recent shift toward cloud computing, IT experts alike are increasing their focus on cyber security. Although it remains a vital component of any network in the 21st century, it’s equally important that you have a protocol in place for data backup and recovery in the event of a sudden disaster. This is especially important in the world of healthcare IT, where an unexpected data loss could be catastrophic.

Scoping Out Healthcare IT

According to recent studies, 55% of respondents aren’t confident in their ability to recover lost data in the wake of a disaster. This figure is rather alarming, especially when you consider the rise in identity theft and cyber-attacks permeating today’s online landscape.

Then there’s the issue of equipment misuse. A major healthcare provider in Dallas recently overwrote nearly 84 gigabytes of patient data through a misconfiguration in their backup routine. The problem would have easily been mitigated had the noticed it immediately, but the shortcoming wasn’t discovered until they had an actual problem with their system. When it came to restore their data, it simply wasn’t there.

A recent post by Gartner spoke about the importance of data backup and recovery and it how it impacts the healthcare sector. They stated: “Backup and recovery is one of the most critical and most frequently performed operations in the data center. Despite the long timeline associated with backup, the practice has undergone a number of changes (such as new recovery techniques, new deployment options and pricing models, and a new, expanded set of vendors and approaches to consider) and challenges, such as how to protect server-virtualized environments, very large databases, emerging next-generation databases and big data applications, as well as how to integrate with the cloud and/or how to protect SaaS applications.”

In Dallas, the situation was eventually rectified by a professional team of data recovery experts. While they were able to minimize the damage, scenarios like this underscore the importance of both cyber security and data archival. It isn’t enough to protect yourself from outside hackers and other threats – a sudden data loss can occur, either by accident or intentionally, through the actions of one of your own employees.

The recent report by Gartner went one step further by suggesting that healthcare IT administrators utilize every available means to ensure continuity in the wake of a disaster. They stated: “Today, even backup to a flash target device is not out of the question. Ease of deployment, with a rapid time to value, and especially a greater ease of daily administration are key requirements. Mission-critical workloads are predominantly deployed in server-virtualized environments, making capable, scalable VM backup a mainstream requirement.”

Establishing Guidelines for Healthcare IT Data Management

IT experts suggest that all healthcare institutions create their own guidelines for data management. The process involves developing separate plans for each department, assigning personnel as necessary, adjusting for any downtime and testing your plan thoroughly. Once in place, however, you’ll find it much easier to recovery from a disaster or sudden data loss in the future.


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