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Historically, medical institutions have always hosted their own on-premise infrastructure. Servers and patch panels were installed directly within the building in order to host data and healthcare applications.
Today, as part of their approach to modernizing this infrastructure, a growing proportion of medical institutions are migrating to the cloud. What are the pitfalls of on-premise infrastructure? What solutions does the cloud provide for these issues?
On-site infrastructure has several major drawbacks:
To install on-site infrastructure, it is necessary to invest in equipment: servers, storage solutions (hard drives, SSDs, NAS devices, etc.), network equipment, virtualization software, backup systems, security equipment (intrusion detection systems, etc.), and so on. This equipment represents a significant upfront cost.
On-premise infrastructure must be managed by qualified personnel, available and able to install and configure equipment, perform updates, maintenance actions and repairs, and backups, replace equipment, etc. This therefore often requires additional recruitment or the mobilization of IT personnel.
The equipment that constitutes on-premise infrastructure quickly becomes obsolete. As with all computer equipment, service life is limited and reliability decreases after a few years of use. As technology advances and evolves ever-more rapidly, it is sometimes necessary to replace hardware in order to benefit from improved performance or more advanced features.
The storage capacity of on-site infrastructure is limited. In a context where volumes of health data are increasingly greater, the risk of saturation is therefore substantial. The only solution for institutions therefore consists in investing in additional storage equipment… until the next saturation.
With on-site infrastructure, access to data and applications is generally limited to company premises. This can make it difficult to share information with other institutions, or even make it difficult for practitioners traveling for external consultations to access healthcare applications.
The cloud offers solutions for every shortcoming of on-premise infrastructure:
While the migration of on-premise infrastructure to the cloud is a project that requires financial investments, these investments can quickly be amortized. Cloud-based infrastructure does not require any investments in hardware. Storage, backup systems, and the likes are made available by the supplier. The pay-as-you-go model allows you to pay only for the storage space used, without overprovision. It should be noted that no longer having on-site infrastructure also means more space within the institution.
The cloud allows for the delegation of infrastructure management and thus lightens the load for the healthcare institution by placing responsibility for the maintenance, updating, and management of the hardware and software infrastructure with the cloud service provider. The fact that the institution no longer has to manage time-consuming tasks such as the purchase, configuration, and maintenance of the various pieces of equipment allows it to focus on its medical activity, reduce costs related to the internal management of the infrastructure, and benefit from the expertise of the cloud provider.
The storage capacity of cloud infrastructure can be changed in just a few clicks. This eliminates any risk of saturation and provides flexibility to respond to load increases when needed.
One of the main strengths of the cloud is its ability to make applications and data accessible to the institution’s personnel, regardless of their geographical location or the terminal used. This facilitates collaboration between institutions, allows health professionals to be fully operational even when traveling, makes remote consultations possible, and even enables expertise to be shared remotely.
While on-premise infrastructure has long been the mainstay of medical institutions’ IT systems, it is now supplanted by the cloud. In addition to being a source of financial savings, the cloud offers a better guarantee of service continuity to medical institutions and allows them to benefit from innovative services that improve the day-to-day lives of healthcare personnel and patients alike.