LEO LYNCH Director, Asia-Pacific, StorageCraft
Securing healthcare data and assuring continuity through crisis It is not an overstatement to say that healthcare workers are the real heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their rapid and selfless response is an incredible example of what we can achieve when good people collaborate and rise to the challenge in the face of adversity. Behind the headlines, the pandemic is having a significant impact on the way health providers leverage technology. While many next-generation healthcare systems, including telemedicine, data sharing, and remote working, were already in place, the degree to which healthcare organisations have ramped up their usage has been extraordinary. The increased speed and scale of technology usage have led to a parallel increase in patient data—data that healthcare organisations are obliged to store, secure effectively, and intelligently manage. For example, healthcare practices must store the recordings and transcripts of telemedicine sessions. They must protect imaging data generated 22
The Health Advocate • NOVEMBER 2020
by diagnostic devices like CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. Then, they must manage the terabytes of unstructured data shared among healthcare professionals working onsite and remotely. These factors translate to high-performance requirements for IT systems as waves of new data are created, thus shining an even brighter light on the importance of data backup and recovery. Sadly, as healthcare organisations pivot more resources to the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, bad actors are trying to take advantage of the situation. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) warned that Australia’s health or research sectors are at greater threat of being targeted, and potentially compromised, by malicious cyber criminals. This double whammy of rapid data growth and rising cyber threats has intensified the need for a comprehensive disaster-recovery strategy. Healthcare institutions must implement an effective data backup and recovery plan that protects patient data and minimises potential downtime.