Two of the biggest concerns that potential customers indicate when implementing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions in the cloud are the migration of huge data stores to the cloud and connectivity to the cloud, says Marc Cianciolo, Director of Global Cloud Services, Hyland. In this interview, Cianciolo also addresses some misconceptions about the cloud, hybrid cloud for healthcare customers and future developments beyond Hyland’s cloud hosted OnBase application.

As a professional who has been in the cloud space for some time, what do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions behind cloud services that you wish to dispel?

From my perspective, there are a few misconceptions equally contributing to reluctance, albeit an easing reluctance, to embrace the cloud.  While we have seen a significant shift in organisational acceptance of the cloud because security in the cloud has been well vetted, there remains a concern among a small population of the market that believe security can still be compromised. The fact is that proven cloud vendors with a history of audited security controls are realistically more secure than a customer’s on premises installation. 

The reason for this is deep expertise in areas like infrastructure and network security, combined with economies of scale that established vendors have to so they can deploy, and maintain, leading edge security protocols. In an increasingly digital world, threats have become more sophisticated and pervasive. Only those vendors and organisations capable of meeting the dynamic, evolving and often expensive security posture can adequately provide the level of sophisticated security required in today’s business climate.

Additionally, there exists a misconception that IT resources will no longer be as relevant when an organization outsources to a cloud based application.  In my experience, this is untrue. Realistically, organisations moving to the Hyland Cloud have adequately taken advantage of the ability to reallocate IT resources to other value-add roles and responsibilities, rather than burdening them with ongoing infrastructure administration.

What is a hybrid cloud and what are the pros and cons of adopting a hybrid cloud in healthcare?

‘Hybrid cloud’ has a different connotation depending upon whom you ask.  At a basic level, it is a solution that utilises a company’s on-premises technology to satisfy a portion of that particular solution, but also engages a third-party cloud provider for a separate portion of the same solution. Often, the cloud is used for more resource intensive elements of the solution because a cloud provider can offer those resources more cost effectively than on-premises.

Hybrid is often preferred for healthcare customers when a) some personal health data must be kept on-premises, or b) application processing services are highly intensive (e.g., medical image processing) and can only guarantee mission-critical performance levels when done on-premises, . Then but other, less critical background services are pushed to the cloud.

Additionally, we’ve also seen a hybrid approach work well for healthcare customers who wish to store a third copy of their on-premises content outside of their managed infrastructure.  For this, Hyland recently launched a Replicated Disk Group offering. With this option, organisations can leverage the Hyland Cloud to store an additional copy of just their content.  In the event the on-premises solution is compromised and content is lost or corrupted, the organization can rest assured knowing that an externally hosted additional copy of the content would be available. 

What are some trends/developments that you observe in the global healthcare industry with regards to cloud technologies/services?

Historically, healthcare enterprises had have been more inclined to embrace cloud solutions for more benign back office content like accounts payable or human resources. However, with the validation of cloud governance, risk and compliance sophistication, healthcare organisations are now more apt to trust the hosting of more mission critical clinical content. From my perspective at Hyland, that mindset, in conjunction with proven technology advancements such as robust integrations with Epic, have led healthcare enterprises to expand their cloud adoption to clinical content and operations.

Are there any unique challenges/concerns in the context of healthcare organisations when they are considering implementing ECM solutions in the cloud?

When we talk with potential customers, two concerns tend to permeate discussions, including sizable data stores that need to be migrated to the Hyland Cloud and concern over connectivity to the Hyland Cloud.

Very large backfiles of several hundred terabytes have raised concerns among potential customers as they build a plan to migrate data from incumbent ECM applications.  Seamless orchestration between Hyland and the customer is required to ensure timely availability of content in the Hyland Cloud. In response, the Hyland Cloud has assembled a team of experts in its Data Services Group to manage and administer the process, resulting in successful migrations of large sets of data—  in some cases up to 400 TB of data.

Additionally, while the vast majority of customer are well served by connecting to their hosted installation of OnBase via HTTPS over the internet, others occasionally require an alternative connection protocol like VPN or MPLS.  Hyland has accommodates these requests and maintains satisfied customers. Often, the need is not critical, but in some cases alternate connectivity can alleviate the concerns of customers who are new to exploring cloud-based applications.

Hyland is a pioneer in cloud-based ECM solutions for more than a decade. Could you tell us more about some of the current product developments and perhaps a glimpse of what is to come?

For many years, Hyland offered, and the Hyland Cloud hosted, only the OnBase application. As Hyland introduced new products developed organically within Hyland and acquired new applications, Hyland’s solutions portfolio grew exponentially. Several of the new or acquired products are in various stages of being available via a hosted Hyland solution.  Our short-term focus for hosted solutions include Hyland’s customer communications management (CCM) technology, Acuo vendor-neutral archive and NilRead universal medical imaging viewer.

Additionally, the Hyland Cloud continues to offer its products in all regions of the world by expanding its global footprint of co-located data centers.  In 2018, Hyland launched two additional data centres in the United States and opened two facilities in Canada, increasing Hyland’s global data centre count to thirteen sites. Additional regions are under consideration in order to address dynamic and evolving global data sovereignty requirements.

Could you share with us some of the success stories of end-users/customers in the healthcare sector through their use and experience of cloud-based ECM solutions from Hyland?

Hyland has helped small and large healthcare customers capture efficiencies and add value both departmentally and across their enterprise by implementing OnBase in the Hyland Cloud.  Most notably, Hyland’s integration with customer implementations of Epic, both on-premises and in Epic’s cloud, has been an integral approach to reshaping and modernizing how healthcare organisation view and process clinical content. The addition of a dedicated line directly between Hyland’s primary data center in Virginia and Epic’s data center in Wisconsin is evidence of the respected partnership. Nearly 100 healthcare organisations worldwide have trusted the secure hosting of their patient information to the Hyland Cloud, including several of the world’s largest healthcare enterprises, the identity of which remains protected in accordance with Hyland’s security policy. 

Cybersecurity and data protection is obviously a critical concern for many customers and end-users, given the frequency and increased complexity of cybercrimes and cyberattacks. What is Hyland’s approach to cybersecurity, especially in terms of the cloud-based ECM solutions?

Security within the Hyland Cloud is of paramount importance. Nothing is implemented, strategically or operationally, without first considering the impact to the security of the overall environment and the integrity of the associated business processes. For this reason, our Governance, Risk and Compliance team has grown by 50 percent just in the past twelve months to ensure Hyland remains on the leading edge of security controls. 

Given the changing landscape with GDPR, BREXIT and a host of other international and domestic data privacy and security requirements, Hyland’s ability to demonstrate a hosting environment aligned with HIPAA guidelines and other data privacy guidelines like ISO 27001 is critical to our ability to bring further value to our healthcare customers’ ECM initiatives. Our customers rely on us to be experts in hosting security and data protection, especially in a time when cyberattacks seem all too commonplace. 

Hyland’s ability to provide unwavering consistency with security audits like SOC 2, ISO 27001, PCI, and more is evidence of our continued leadership position in cloud-based ECM.

Hyland is a corporate member of HIMSS Asia Pacific.

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