Sep 10, 2021

5 mins with... Chris Logan, VMware

Cybersecurity
Cloud
5 min
Cloud computing
Chris Logan at VMware explains what a hybrid cloud model and a Zero Trust approach mean for healthcare organisations

Chris Logan, Executive Healthcare Advisor at VMware, explains why a hybrid cloud model benefits healthcare organisations, and why they need to take a Zero Trust approach. 

Why should healthcare organisations adopt a hybrid cloud model? 
Hybrid cloud models benefit healthcare organisations by enabling them to control IT costs and simplify operations. Most healthcare IT organisations opt for hybrid models and will never move fully to the cloud because of security concerns, the time and cost associated with digitising years of medical records, and the complexity that comes with deploying large-scale technical infrastructure. 

By properly classifying applications, and understanding the interdependencies, a subset of applications can be identified as candidates for running in a public cloud environment. This can free up valuable resources within the data centre itself to expand existing systems, or move off legacy platforms. 

For short-term and temporary workloads, such as clinical trials, open enrolment, vaccination clinics and more, this also provides a simple way to increase capacity without the need for hardware requisition and setup and configuration of infrastructure.

How can healthcare providers have a smooth transition to a hybrid cloud infrastructure?
Some of the key challenges healthcare organisations face while adopting hybrid cloud are inconsistent infrastructures between private cloud and public cloud, forcing IT teams to re-architect or refactor existing applications while moving to cloud, thus increasing risks, costs and complexity. Additionally, healthcare organisations hold a wealth of sensitive data and they need to ensure that storage systems are both resilient and secure.

By opting for a cloud-based system instead of traditional infrastructure, healthcare institutions can rest assured their systems will have built-in security and resilience. Cloud-based systems such as VMware Cloud on AWS ensures security through functions such as content filtering, consistent access controls and firewall parameters, essential to preventing disruption and to keeping staff and patients from falling victim to ransomware or other attacks.
 
What does having a "Zero Trust" approach mean and why is this important?
“Never trust, always verify,” protects networks and devices against an expanding threat landscape. Zero Trust is an organisational initiative that requires a team sport mindset to be successful. It needs to address each and every facet of an IT environment, from the devices and access through to the network, the applications and data, regardless of where it is operating.

As the healthcare industry continues to digitise and increase telehealth offerings, interoperability of data and cyber resilience will become even more crucial. Zero Trust is important when it comes to retaining patient trust, as it enables healthcare organisations to safeguard patient data and ensure that it is only used legitimately. 

The pandemic has driven digital transformation in healthcare, but what do you think its lasting impact will be in 10 years or so?
The overall trend towards cloud adoption in healthcare has been gaining momentum. In a recent VMware survey of global healthcare IT leaders, research shows that cloud adoption is rising based on goals of modernising legacy apps, scale, and automation.

 The research also showed that 53% of respondents plan to increase the number of clouds they use to include public clouds, private clouds, and edge environments.  It’s no longer about “if” healthcare will move to the cloud or even “when” they’ll move to the cloud, it’s about “which clouds.” EHR modernisation is upon us, and the time for healthcare providers to modernise care delivery has arrived. 

What are the most typical things healthcare organisations overlook, or do wrong in terms of cybersecurity?
Healthcare’s biggest security challenges today are lack of budget, the changing nature of threats, daily tactical activities taking up too much time, and securing the remote workforce. 

Due to this new hybrid work reality, healthcare organisations need to prioritise and allocate budget for securing remote and hybrid ways of working, because we’re never going back to the old way.

Culture is also a critical element. Cybersecurity in healthcare is about people, and making sure they have the information they need to make timely clinical decisions. Building security into the foundation is paramount as you want to ensure a secure but frictionless experience.

What is VMware doing in this space? 
VMware helps healthcare organisations build, run, manage, connect, and protect any app on any cloud on any device to drive digital strategies and connected healthcare at scale. These solutions have been pivotal in helping organisations adapt to the ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Prior to the pandemic, Nebraska Medicine, the Omaha-based healthcare provider, had made investments in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and next-generation virtual networking technology using VMware Workspace One™ and VMware NSX™. This turned out to be a game changer when the pandemic hit, as it helped Nebraska medicine to quickly pivot to interacting virtually with patients who had been admitted to the hospital, reducing the exposure of physicians and staff to the virus, and conserving PPE supply.

Additionally, to help ease the transition to the cloud, GE Healthcare leveraged VMware SD-WAN to seamlessly deliver cloud-based services to GE Healthcare customers. VMware SD-WAN provides a network overlay to prioritise and move high-fidelity, latency-sensitive data to the cloud and between edge locations. Leveraging VMware SD-WAN enables GE Healthcare to offer rapid, more securely deployed, and easily accessed virtual care solutions.

How do you see VMware supporting the needs of the healthcare sector in the future?
VMware will continue to be a leader in supporting the dynamic nature of delivering patient care by providing digital experiences for both the patient and the provider. As new care models evolve, VMware is poised to be the partner that will be able to seamlessly support Healthcare organizations meet the demand and changing landscape.

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