4 Reasons Why Pharma is Moving to the Cloud

After years of resistance, the health care and pharmaceutical industries are now accelerating full steam towards the cloud. In fact, the global health care cloud computing market, valued at $4.5 billion in 2016, will reach $9.5 billion by 2020. Here are the dominant benefits that are drawing these giants to the cloud.

Disaster Recovery Security

Disaster recovery is the biggest motivation for healthcare cloud adoption. More specifically, the quick migration away from paper-based records to electronic health records has made healthcare databases an inviting target for cyber thieves — and raises the risk of data breaches and loss. HIPPA regulations have also made it incumbent upon healthcare providers to secure data against disasters or risk potentially expensive liability exposure. Data breach lawsuits cost healthcare organizations an average of $880,000 per incident, according to the Ponemon Institute.

Cloud backup services with enterprise-grade security, like those sold by Mozy, represent a viable disaster recovery solution for healthcare providers. Cloud providers enable users to schedule automatic data backups, relieving healthcare providers of the need to perform manual operations. Cloud services also employ full-time security professionals to protect data, which can alleviate healthcare IT staff of the burden of handling their own security.

Data Storage Efficiency

Data storage is the second-biggest reason healthcare providers are moving to the cloud. Healthcare and pharmaceutical providers must manage massive amounts of data in order to store electronic patient records and clinical data. For instance, pharmaceutical company Astellas migrated 50 terabytes of data to the cloud in order to provide marketing analysts and data scientists with online access to pharmaceutical, clinical and real-world data. Such massive amounts of data are difficult and, in some cases, impossible to store and manage on-premises.

However, cloud data providers represent an efficient, cost-effective solution to this issue. Cloud services give healthcare and pharmaceutical providers the ability to scale up their data storage as needed, removing the ceiling imposed by on-site storage. At the same time, the prices of cloud storage services are scaled to use and priced at a significantly lower rate than traditional storage.

Data-intense Research and Development Support

Johnson & Johnson’s aggressive pivot to the cloud is driven partly by the need to support data-intensive R&D, illustrating another motive for pharmaceutical and healthcare migration to the cloud. Enormous amounts of data are required for R&D tasks, such as sequencing genomes, parsing disease pathways, and modelling new medical devices. In Johnson & Johnson’s case, 500 terabytes of data are already stored on the cloud, and this represents only half of the company’s intended data migration. This data must be not only stored, but also processed rapidly if it is to be of any practical value for researchers.

Analytic-Powered Efficiency

The pressure and demand for increased profit margins is also driving healthcare providers to cloud-based analytics tools. Cloud-based analytics enable more flexible analysis of data and faster delivery of results. Recognition of this growing demand has attracted Microsoft to the healthcare analytics market. Microsoft and Infosys have partnered to leverage the Microsoft Cortana Analytics Suite to deliver analytics capability to healthcare providers. The joint partnership is intended to make it easier for healthcare providers to analyze population health trends, monitor and improve clinical efficiency, and track and increase customer satisfaction.

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