In my experience, many MedTech manufacturers have delayed efforts to migrate their infrastructure, applications, and data from their data centers to the cloud. After all, on-premise facilities seem like an efficient and cost-effective way to support their business. Or are they?
The short answer: they’re not. Companies I’ve worked with have moved their data center workloads to the cloud and seen tangible benefits like these:
While on-premise data centers might seem to offer cost and efficiency advantages, they don’t support growth initiatives or increasing demands for data storage and analytics. In response, some companies choose a hybrid model. But combining on-premise facilities with cloud solutions adds complexity and requires thorough design considerations.
On-premise solutions with aging infrastructure are expensive to maintain. Equipment and labor costs rise daily. Failures will happen, even in those facilities running efficiently now. And all systems need updates when there are changes in requirements for power and cooling, monitoring, regulations and security.
Cloud solutions come with upgrades built in. There’s no need to worry about sudden downtime or unexpected capital expenditure.
Cloud-based data centers enable scaling of compute, storage, network and platforms to support variations in demand. Such fluctuations can occur for many reasons, including:
- Global events like the current pandemic.
- Seasonal variations.
- Different phases of the product development lifecycle.
During clinical trials, for example, companies might need more resources for collecting and storing data or performing analytics—which they can scale back when a product reaches production. Companies with on-premise data centers must factor in this spike in use by over provisioning services. Cloud solutions can scale capacity up and down, enabling companies to avoid the technical debt required to support changes in demand.
I know MedTech’s worry that moving critical patient, physician and provider data to the cloud could introduce unnecessary risk. However, generally it’s people with direct access to the physical resources who perform breaches or install malware. When on-premise data centers are located with other company offices, companies must be careful to restrict physical access. That means putting security clearances, checks and controls in place.
Although data centers in the cloud face the same challenges, overall, their data security is superior. Cloud solutions hold copies of data at multiple sites. This offers better business continuity, disaster recovery and archiving capabilities. For example, if a MedTech’s data is held for ransom, a cloud-based data center can restore the company’s access with no data loss and limited downtime.
The cloud also lets MedTech’s incorporate self-service, environment provisioning, automated scripting and blueprints. Enabling teams to set up environments with minimal help, these capabilities increase agility and speed, so products get to market faster.
When patients, providers, health systems and engineers share data, governance is key. A cloud ecosystem includes native monitoring tools and supports an audit trail by logging transactions. This lets companies see who has accessed data, when, where and what they did with it.
As well as supporting regulatory reporting and compliance, cloud solutions often include machine learning. By learning from user transactions, operations can update blueprints and automated scripts constantly. Over time, the entire system becomes more efficient.
Ultimately, the cloud can help MedTech companies respond quicker, with greater agility and with stronger security and governance in place. Better interfaces, higher quality data and more efficient workflows mean teams have more freedom to develop innovative products that improve patients’ lives.
During the COVID-19 crisis, a responsible innovation mindset will help companies tackle today’s challenges. Whether they want to advance diagnostics and monitoring, redefine products, assure supply and delivery, or ensure business continuity, I believe MedTech’s that shift their data center operations to the cloud will be better prepared for the future.
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