Survey: 69 Percent of Providers Plan to Move More Data to the Cloud | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Survey: 69 Percent of Providers Plan to Move More Data to the Cloud

April 6, 2018
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

Most healthcare providers store sensitive data, such as electronic protected health information (ePHI), personally identifiable information (PII) and financial data, in the cloud, yet only a few of them have pervasive visibility into who is accessing that data, according to a new survey.

Netwrix Corporation, provider of a visibility platform for data security and risk mitigation in hybrid environments, released a report on cloud security in healthcare. The report provides an industry perspective into the healthcare sector’s use of cloud technology and an assessment of the risks associated with cloud migration.

Netwrix surveyed 853 organizations in North America, Asia/Pacific and Europe, and across various industries, with 11 percent of respondents in healthcare.

Within healthcare, cloud adoption makes it easier for health care organizations to centralize the storage of health records and access data, according to the report. In the survey of IT professionals employed in the healthcare industry, a clear majority (84 percent) said their organizations are already using the cloud to store sensitive information and 69 percent of healthcare providers plan to move more data to the cloud, the survey found.

What’s more, 23 percent of healthcare organizations said they are ready for a broader adoption of the cloud, 23 percent plan to move their entire infrastructure to the cloud within the next five years and 19 percent plan to adopt a cloud-first approach.

The survey also examined cloud security challenges. Among the healthcare respondents, in response to a question about the impact of cloud adoption on the overall security of IT infrastructure, a quarter (26 percent) said it had worsened, while only 19 percent said it had improved the security of IT infrastructure. About 40 percent said they were not sure.

The top cloud security concerns were unauthorized access (named by 68 percent) and malware infiltrations (mentioned by 61 percent). Most respondents (55 percent) identified employees as the biggest risk to sensitive data stored in the cloud, with 13 percent identifying third parties with legitimate access as the biggest risk. However, despite this concern about the insider threat, only 14 percent of respondents have visibility into the activity of business users and just 21 percent have visibility into the activity of IT staff.

Even given this inability to combat the insider threat, only half of IT teams say that their top management supports their cloud security initiatives. For about half of respondents, increasing employee training and tightening security policies are the key measures to improve cloud security.

“This year shows positive dynamics in cloud adoption by healthcare providers, as more organizations are willing to move their sensitive data to the cloud, or already store it there. Yet the major security concerns remain the same: Most organizations perceive employees as the main threat to their systems and data, while lack of visibility across the IT environment makes it more difficult to deal with potential risks,” Michael Fimin, CEO and co-founder of Netwrix, said. “The majority of healthcare providers believe that more employee training and tighter security policies will help them improve cloud security. However, these measures have to be complemented with awareness of what users are doing in the IT infrastructure, what sensitive data the organization stores there and what weak points they need to address.”




Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Mass. General, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems Form Clinical Affiliation

Massachusetts General Hospital will form a clinical affiliation with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, in which the two provider organizations will collaborate on areas as telemedicine, research, and protocols for providing care, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

Humanitarian Data Exchange Wins Health Data Liberator Award

Sarah Telford and Ahmadou Dicko were named the winners of this year’s Health Data Liberator award at the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C., for their work on the Humanitarian Data Exchange.

Survey: Optimism for Health IT Startups in 2018, Skepticism for Amazon Healthcare Partnership

Despite all the buzz about new entrants disrupting healthcare, the majority of healthcare stakeholders are dubious about the impact of the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan healthcare partnership and believe the effort will face substantial challenges, according to a survey by venture capital firm Venrock.

NIH Awards $10M to Alabama-based Newborn Genome Sequencing Project

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a four-year, $10 million grant to HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a Huntsville, Ala.-based genomics and genetics research institute, in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, to investigate how genome sequencing can help with the diagnosis and care of babies with birth defects and genetic disorders.

Senate Committee Advances Opioid Bill that Includes Telehealth Provisions

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted Tuesday to advance a bipartisan opioid bill, called the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, that includes provisions promoting the use of telemedicine in substance abuse treatment.

Florida Insurer Establishes Digital Health and Wellbeing Program for Members

Florida Blue, a health insurer based in Jacksonville, has announced a partnership with Welltok. The goal of the collaboration will be to provide Florida Blue members with access to a digital health and wellbeing program designed to help them become and stay healthy.