How to unify fragmented data storage in healthcare
SummaryMergers and acquisitions (M&As) are never straightforward. Bringing together different systems and processes, from HR and payroll, to finance and commercial can take months - and in some cases years - to prepare and put into action. Imagine then the sheer scale of combining a patchwork of IT infrastructures and, with them, the data storage solutions that keep organisations functioning effectively and securely.
- Author Company: Scality
- Author Name: Candida Valois
- Author Website: https://www.scality.com/
Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are never straightforward. Bringing together different systems and processes, from HR and payroll, to finance and commercial can take months - and in some cases years - to prepare and put into action.
Imagine then the sheer scale of combining a patchwork of IT infrastructures and, with them, the data storage solutions that keep organisations functioning effectively and securely. Now put that into the context of an active M&A landscape in the healthcare industry - undeterred by external events and economic uncertainty - and you’ll start to see some of the issues that healthcare organisations are facing when it comes to effective data storage management.
A special case
Managing the merger of data storage solutions in any industry is challenging, but the healthcare industry is a special case. Producing an eye-watering 30% of the world’s electronic data, and with much of that highly sensitive, personal information, the sector is already at high risk of cyber attack. In fact 34% of healthcare organisations were hit by ransomware in the last year, according to Sophos. And the volume of data this industry creates is only set to increase over the coming years, as more practitioners adopt electronic records, and online consultations - popular during the pandemic - become more commonplace. It is estimated that by 2025, the compound annual growth rate of data in the healthcare sector will reach 36%, which is 9% faster the global datasphere.
This combination of volume and security would make demands of any organisation, but throw a merger into the mix, along with the resulting storage silos, and you’re facing an epic battle. Newly-structured organisations need a fresh approach to data storage – one that can unify various storage silos.
Unity across data centres
In the case of a merger or acquisition, IT managers often find themselves facing a patchwork of different storage solutions and tools, with an even larger pool of data to manage.
In addition to protecting against a cyber attack, a unifying storage solution benefits both patient care and institutional efficiency. For clinicians to make faster, more accurate diagnoses and for researchers to develop life-changing therapies, they must have access to extensive data collected over long periods of time. Extracting insights and patterns from historical studies has massive benefits to how patients are treated over the course of decades and lifetimes. But it can only happen if separate storage systems complement each other.
Sitting across disparate solutions, modern object storage is that unifier. By enabling IT teams to manage storage in one place and remove silos, accessing and protecting data across different systems and locations is much simpler.
An object storage solution acts as a single, distributed system and can scale linearly across multiple sites, thousands of servers, and an unlimited volume of data stored as ‘objects’. In fact, scaling up is written into object storage’s DNA, which not only means it grows as an organisation’s needs grow; the solution can also adapt to future mergers and acquisitions down the line, keeping down the total cost of ownership.
Object storage’s capacity for data recovery is another boon to the data protection manager. With data immutability, writing to an object retains the previous version and creates a new one. This plays an important role in keeping data safe from ransomware. And record-keeping legal requirements are met by using the write-once-read-many (WORM) model, preventing information from being deleted or overwritten until retention period is met – or forever.
The right solution will also offer 100% availability during hardware failures, software upgrades, and capacity expansion, even across hardware generations. Think about the impact on a healthcare organisation’s data, from backing up and accessing patient records and medical imagery - sometimes centuries old - to storing insurance claims and pharmaceutical research and development.
Focus on your organisation
Frequent healthcare M&A deals, added to the predicted increased data volume in the sector, means that getting to grips with storage now could not be more important. A patchwork of fragmented solutions is leaving organisations vulnerable to cyber attack and at risk of breaking data compliance regulations, not to mention slowing down the valuable work carried out in these organisations. Object storage promises to break down silos and unify scattered data, to enable healthcare organisations to keep doing what they do best.
By Scality Americas Field CTO Candida Valois
Candida Valois is Americas Field CTO for Scality, a world leader in object and cloud storage. Candida is an IT specialist with 20+ years’ IT experience in architecture, development of software, services, and sales for various industries. She is passionate about technology and delivering valuable solutions.