The five reasons to keep change management in a HIPAA compliant cloud

Using cloud applications allows companies to subscribe to software applications and outsource back-end infrastructure operations to a vendor (such as Amazon Web Services) that can do the job much more cost effectively.

Large cloud vendors have the technology, security know-how, and economies of scale that even many Fortune 100 companies do not. As a result, companies can spread their IT budget across many more applications to support and grow their business operations, which will in turn contribute to higher profits.

Today, many security breaches are announced every day. It is an excellent security precaution to use a cloud change management system that is HIPAA compliant.

Even if your business is not required to be HIPAA compliant, you can reduce risk by keeping your IT change management process in the cloud and selecting a vendor that is HIPAA compliant.

> See also: Why data privacy and security should be a boardroom issue

IT change management automates the submission, tracking and approval process for IT changes, increases visibility into IT changes before implementation, boosts cross-functional communication with real-time reporting, increases employee productivity through higher infrastructure uptime, and enhances IT department productivity by providing automated workflow and escalation.

It also decreases support costs by lowering change-related failures, reduces support calls by increasing the number of successful changes, speeds business decisions by delivering accurate, real-time reports, and minimises business risk by ensuring Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory compliance through audit trails of IT-related changes.

The aim of IT change management is to identify opportunities for business process improvement by providing trend analysis reporting for successful and unsuccessful IT-related changes, facilitating the efficient and prompt handling of all changes and maintaining the proper balance between the need for change and the potential detrimental impact of changes

Here are five reasons to keep your change management application in the cloud:

Lower total cost of ownership

According to the Aberdeen Group, industry data indicates that upfront software acquisition costs are typically only 30% of the total cost of ownership. In many cases, the three-year total cost of ownership of a cloud change management application will be an order of magnitude less expensive than a locally installed application when you consider the full total cost of ownership.

Software acquisition costs for an enterprise-grade locally installed change management application can range from $75,000-$150,000 or even more excluding customisation, training and annual maintenance fees.

In addition, locally installed on-premise applications require deployment of capital and personnel resources on an ongoing basis for set-up, support, server administration and backup. In contrast, the cloud model allows you to significantly reduce headcount requirements for non-core competency applications.

Quick setup

Many cloud customers have deployed a cloud application on a worldwide basis in approximately one week. Professional Services may be required to assist in the set-up and configuration stage.

However, new cloud 2.0 applications are much more intuitive than old client/server locally installed change management applications. They are easier to use and many have point-and-click administration to do configuration and customisation.

In contrast, according to the Aberdeen Group, locally installed applications typically require trained experts for set-up and customisation, which may require three to six months of work.

Most cloud applications do not require the deployment of any client software (other than a standard browser), web or database servers, applications, databases, VPN equipment, etc. Cloud users simply log into the application with a user name and passwords or secure two-factor authentication adding extra security.

Easy integration with REST-based APIs

Most cloud applications integrate more seamlessly than locally installed applications. The first generation of cloud integration using Web Services were difficult to accomplish without a significant amount of coding and security work.

Now with REST-based APIs and Federation Services in the ubiquitous cloud, integrations are much easier and more secure. Easy integrations allow your team to work more productively and efficiently connect to other applications in the cloud or even locally installed.

Integrations can add significant value to applications and reduce duplication of having to copy/maintain data in multiple systems.

Improved customer support from IT cloud vendors

A locally installed IT change management application is much more difficult for vendors to support since there could be an infinite number of variables with locally installed hardware, operating systems, patch levels, databases and server software.

> See also: Better safe than sorry: how data security has to remain strong in an ambiguous regulatory environment

When the applications are hosted by a cloud vender, all of this complexity is eliminated. Technical support organizations do not have to recreate problems using so many different hardware and software combinations.

The cloud vendor controls the hosting environment and it is the same for all customers. The only thing that is different between customers is browser versions.

In theory, cloud vendors can track every click made by a customer so that it is easy to see how customers are using their applications. Vendors can more easily and quickly increase functionality and usability since they can understand how their customers are using their products.

Cloud vendors are seasoned

At this point of the evolution of the cloud industry, many vendors have been around for more than a decade. The applications are mature. The cloud vendors are also typically launching new product releases at least a few times each year, and some release new versions every few weeks using the benefits of Agile Software development.

Sourced from Ron Avignone, founder, Giva

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...