MythBusters: Healthcare Cloud Management

In my previous position as a Manager of Enterprise Network and Mobility for a major metropolitan healthcare provider, the business had procured over 100 applications that lived in the cloud. However, at that time, we had yet to consider managing our IT network infrastructure from the cloud.

Today, as the Director of Technology for Healthcare Solutions at Extreme, I have talked to many healthcare industry professionals about the now mainstream adoption of cloud-based technologies. Although once hesitant to embrace cloud, we have seen the transition of many critical healthcare applications, including email, contact centers, electronic medical records (EMR), and health information systems (HIS), to public cloud software-as-a-service models.

However, healthcare hasn’t been quite so bullish when it comes to network infrastructure management and the transition from on-premises to cloud-based management. According to a recent Extreme Networks survey, the adoption rate of cloud-managed infrastructure within healthcare is only 14%. The most common reason for the low adoption is the perception that cloud-managed networking solutions are not clinical grade and don’t offer the reliability and security needed for mission-critical hospital environments.

So, what are some of the top objections I hear from healthcare companies regarding network infrastructure? Below, I’ve outlined these concerns and how a cloud-based network management solution meets the critical demands of clinical environments.

Myth #1: A loss of connectivity to the public cloud is going to have an impact on my network services.

It is essential that a loss of connectivity to the public cloud will not impact network traffic or the underlying infrastructure. There should not be any dependency on the cloud management system for the infrastructure to function. Be warned that some solutions, based on a centralized control plane, require a dependency between the infrastructure and the cloud. As a result, the loss of the public cloud impacts infrastructure operations. But with a distributed network architecture, if network devices lose connectivity to the cloud, the network itself is not affected in any way. More importantly, a quality user experience remains uninterrupted.

Myth #2: If my cloud subscription service expires, my users will lose the ability to connect to the network.

Unlike some competitive solutions, if your cloud subscription service expires, your users will still be able to connect and access network resources. Letting your subscription lapse may result in a temporary loss of visibility and network performance insights; however, your healthcare network users are not impacted.

Myth #3: Continuous feature updates to the cloud management platform means I will lose control over software updates and patches on my infrastructure.

A key benefit of cloud management is the continuous innovation and continuous delivery of new management features and new network visibility insights. However, configuration changes and firmware updates of network devices remain in your IT organization and network administrators' strict control and change management procedures.

Myth #4: My infrastructure is more secure with an on-premises management platform.

While that might have been the case a few years ago, there have been considerable advances in cloud-based security. The top cloud vendors— AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure— have spent billions on security and have massive teams of cybersecurity experts and data scientists, far exceeding any individual enterprise's capabilities. However, a cloud networking vendor should take extra precautions to protect customer data. Third-party auditing of your vendor’s cloud security practices should be mandatory, and the solution should hold multiple cloud security certifications.

Furthermore, many next-generation network security solutions now leverage machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect and remediate threats faster. Since ML/AI requires a massive data pool to learn from, as well as significant compute resources, it is best suited for public cloud implementations. Much of the innovation occurring in networking and security is via the public cloud.

Do you want to learn more about common myths and misconceptions about cloud-based Infrastructure management? Please take a look at this brief whitepaper. To learn more about the values of cloud management in a healthcare setting, download this solutions brief.

About the Author
Extreme Networks
Extreme Marketing Team

Our global marketing team is made up of knowledgeable, passionate, and creative individuals. They promote the advances – and the momentum – of the world’s most exciting networking company through best-in-class events and communications.

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