Which Cloud is Right for Your Organization: Private vs. Public Cloud

NetgainCloud Computing, Healthcare IT

Healthcare adoption of the cloud is growing at a healthy rate of about 20 percent each year, expected to grow from $3.7 billion in 2015 to $9.5 billion in 2020. It is estimated that private cloud accounts for the major share of healthcare cloud computing, based on a report by MarketsAndMarkets.

First, some definitions:  “Public Cloud” refers to the large-scale, shared-space implementation of a software system – often resembling a website, very commonly used through a computer’s browser.  “Private Cloud” uses some of the same large-scale resources and economies, but is sized to an individual organization’s needs, and more commonly, security tools restrict use of the software solely to one organization.

There has been a shift in healthcare organizations, from “contemplating” moving to the cloud to most “embracing” the cloud. Now the question is which cloud environment is best for each organization’s different workloads: public cloud or private cloud. Some organizations host applications such as their EHR in a private cloud and use the public cloud for commodity applications like file sharing or email. This practice is called a “hybrid cloud.”

Public cloud is a more affordable option that can be quickly deployed, but because resources are often shared, security is not as robust, and service level promises are often less stringent. On the other hand, private cloud offers a dedicated and flexible environment to meet technology challenges and security regulations imposed on healthcare organizations.

There are other benefits and drawbacks to each Cloud option. It’s important to assess private cloud versus public cloud to determine which is the best fit for common uses at your organization.

  Private Public
Flexibility High Low
Security and Control High Low-Medium
Performance High Medium
Support and Response High Low
Costs Medium Low
Reliability High High
Signed BAA Common Uncommon
Speed of Migration Medium High
Common Uses EHR/EMR, Practice Management, and Financial Software Email, Office, File Sharing, Remote Backup, Disaster Recovery

In general, healthcare practices see the value that private cloud hosting offers for their clinical applications and data. There’s a need for a reliable IT environment with added security for your patients’ ePHI, as well as high flexibility and control. Private cloud is tailored to your organization’s needs and keeps all you applications secure in one place.

The cloud is playing a prominent role for healthcare organizations. How does your organization plan to leverage the cloud this year?