Compliance, Security, & Private Cloud – Who, What and Why?

April 11th, 2018
Adam Citron
Adam CitronSr. Cloud Computing Strategist

It’s no secret that cloud computing brings with it a wide range of different benefits for businesses in particular that are far too important to ignore. According to Cloud Academy, many modern day organizations believe that the rising costs of traditional business software is simply disproportionate to the value it ultimately creates — and this one simple idea is the foundation of everything that the cloud brings to the table.

Businesses of all types, sizes and in all industries can now avoid the never-ending cycle of software and hardware buys. Applications are far easier to configure, change, grow and adapt than ever before. Data is available from any device on planet Earth with an active internet connection, meaning that employees can now be just as productive halfway around the globe while on vacation as they can be in their own office.

comparing cloud options

However, the cloud also ushers in a new era of challenges — particularly in terms of pressing issues like compliance and security. Or, at least, the public cloud does.

As more and more businesses move toward these types of public cloud infrastructures for their data storage and security applications, there is still an urgent need for an infrastructure that allows organizations to benefit from a cloud environment AND address the needed security and compliance aspects at the exact same time. For those organizations, the private cloud is acting as the solution they need when they need it the most.

What Is the Private Cloud?

At its core, a private cloud is a cloud-based environment that is both distinct and secure and from which only a single, specified client can operate.

A traditional public cloud environment, the servers your data is stored on may be shared with many other businesses at the same time.

With a private cloud, on the other hand, every aspect of the environment — from the very design to the larger configuration — sets aside the idea of the “one size fits all” approach to cloud computing to create the type of cloud offering that is truly built with your organization in mind.

The Power of the Private Cloud: Breaking It Down

Though nearly every type of business can benefit from the unique nature of the private cloud to a certain degree, those who will find the biggest positive impact tend to be in industries that are governed by various complicated (and costly) compliance and security rules.

Take organizations operating in the health care industry, for example. Thanks largely to the fact that health care data breaches are shockingly common, data security when it comes to things like patient records is obviously a very serious issue. Because of this, the HIPAA Security Rule was established — which is a set of national standards that organizations must adhere to in order to properly protect the electronic personal health information that is created for patients everywhere. This rule dictates not only how these records can be created, but how they can be transmitted and received, how they can be used, how they must be protected and how they must be maintained.

private cloud hipaa

In terms of protecting documents, simply using encryption is not enough — you need to use a particular type of encryption that meets or exceeds the standards dictated by the HIPAA Security Rule. Can you be absolutely, positively sure that the type of at rest or in transit encryption used by a public cloud provider meets those requirements? Sadly, no — you cannot. This is just one of the many, many issues that businesses looking to transition into the cloud are running into with increasing regularity in just about every industry that you can think of.

The problem with moving to the cloud is that simply using a public cloud infrastructure to house electronic health records likely puts you in violation of this rule. The public cloud is secure, yes — but not in the specific ways that HIPAA demands that you safeguard these documents. Even if you were totally unaware that you were in violation, you could still wind up with a maximum penalty of $50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.

But health care is not the only industry that has to worry about this. The financial sector is governed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which sets rules on storing and retaining business records in IT systems. The payment card industry is governed by PCI DSS, which is a set of policies and procedures designed to guarantee the security of credit, debit and cash card transactions. Even federal agencies have to worry about the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

multi-tiered private cloud plans

Because public cloud platforms are designed to be multi-user infrastructure products (indeed, that’s a large part of the appeal in the first place), they are essentially in violation of some if not all of these compliance standards by their very design. But at the same time, just because you’re a health care organization doesn’t mean that you should never be able to leverage the full power of cloud computing to your advantage. Far from it — the ease at which information can be shared alone via the cloud is a great way to improve patient outcomes across the board.

It is for these types of situations that the private cloud isn’t just a recommendation, but a requirement. Think of it for what it really is: a cloud-based platform that was intended to comply with incredibly strict regulatory frameworks, which itself is only possible when the physical infrastructure upon which the cloud is built is private to the company using it.

So in the end, the benefits of this type of private cloud infrastructure are actually twofold. Not only can you be fully confident that all of your industry’s security and compliance needs are being met because this is baked into the design of the private cloud in the first place, but this is also not something that you have to worry about as time goes on.

Data security rules and regulations change often, which is part of why maintaining your own environment is incredibly difficult — keeping up with the rate at which these rules change is a challenge to say the least. But in a private cloud infrastructure, this is the responsibility of your provider. Whether you’re running a law firm, a financial services business, a health care organization or something else entirely, you can spend less time worrying about whether or not your data is safe and secure and more time actually running the business you’ve worked so hard to build in the first place.

private cloud healthcare

The Nerdio Approach

At Nerdio, we understand the need our clients have in industries like health care, financial services, legal, account and banking, and others to leverage the full power of the cloud to their advantage while still staying up to date on all of the compliance and security regulations that govern their respective fields. This is a large part of what our Nerdio Private Cloud was designed to address — a complete, end-to-end IT-as-a-service solution that ushers in all of the advantages of the modern era with as few of the downsides as possible.

Provisioning is easy — you can automatically set up a brand new IT environment in under two hours. At the same time, worrying about the types of fines, fees and other violations that come with industry-specific and constantly confusing compliance issues are officially a thing of the past.

If you’d like to find out more information about why the private cloud is so essential in terms of compliance and security, or if you’d like to find out more about our Nerdio Private Cloud offerings, don’t delay — contact Nerdio today.