Cloud Computing in Healthcare: Benefits, Use Cases, & Challenges

Cloud computing has become an important part of modern businesses, and the healthcare industry is no exception. Healthcare providers must use cloud-based solutions if they want to keep up with the fast changes in the industry and give patients the best care possible. When used in the medical field, it significantly affects how information is stored, retrieved, and shared. It can also help hospitals save money, increase speed and agility, and provide better care to patients.

By 2027, the global market for cloud computing in healthcare will be worth $42.21 billion. This growth is likely driven by the growing need for healthcare organizations to store and analyze data and the growing number of healthcare organizations that use cloud solutions.


In some way, more than 83% of healthcare organizations are already using cloud computing, according to a survey done by HIMSS. The survey also found that medical firms are using cloud-based data storage solutions more to improve patient care, lower operational costs, and make their work more efficient. According to a study, global spending on cloud services will increase from $494.7 billion in 2022 to nearly $600 billion by the end of 2023. 

But why are healthcare organizations moving to the cloud? Keep reading this article; we will discuss cloud computing, its use in healthcare, its benefits, various types and platforms, and how it impacts the healthcare industry. Let’s jump right into it!

What is Cloud Computing?

The term “cloud computing” is often used to make computing resources, such as data storage and processing power, available on demand through a network of remote servers. The “cloud” is a network of remote data centers that can be accessed through the internet and used by many people simultaneously.

cloud based healthcare solutions

Cloud computing makes it easy to store documents in a central place where people can access them from any device at any time. In the past, you had to be at a certain place to use software and apps stored on a computer or server. With the help of cloud solutions, users can now access their data and apps through the web. 

Ins and Outs of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

When we talk about “cloud-based healthcare,” we’re referring to the practice of using solutions based on the cloud to develop and administer healthcare services. In contrast to the traditional method of setting up data centers on-site to store data on individual computers, this method gives healthcare stakeholders various ways to access the data servers from a distance. Also, this is very helpful for big and small health organizations because it lets them store data safely away from their main office.

Real-World Illustrations of How Cloud Computing is Transforming Healthcare

how cloud computing helps in communication and data transfer for healthcare providers


Cloud computing can help providers improve patient care by assisting them in keeping up with the latest advances in medicine and technology. Here are ten examples of how cloud computing is used in healthcare:

Thanks to cloud and telehealth services, patients can get clinical care no matter where they are. Telemedicine projects, like telemedicine apps, telesurgery, etc., can use cloud computing as the backbone of their information and communication technology. Also, doctors and healthcare stakeholders can talk to each other and share their knowledge to treat more complex and challenging conditions. In the field of telemedicine, cloud-based solutions can be used for the following:

  • Real-time, cross-border exchange of patients’ medical records
  • Accessing the stored information at a time and location of their choosing
  • Saving time and money by reducing pointless doctor visits

In the drug discovery and recovery process, much computing power is needed to sort through trillions of chemical structures and find promising compounds. The many IaaS services available in the cloud make this process much easier and faster. Several joint ventures, like the one between Newcastle University, Molplex, and Microsoft Research, have used IaaS to help find new drugs, thus saving a lot of time and money.

The healthcare sector has adopted management information systems to improve internal and external communication and serve patients better in several ways. Some of these ways include improving querying services, billing and finances, and the management of human resources. 

Because the data in this system is sensitive, the developers build, test, and put it into use using cloud-based platform services. With the help of cloud technology, the system can be constructed quickly and encourage teamwork. It can also be more easily connected to other healthcare systems.


Health firms can also use the cloud to manage patient health records (PHR) and electronic health records (EHR). Patients usually keep their health records (PHR), while managed-care organizations and single hospitals each keep their electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR). Thanks to cloud computing, it is now easier to control who has access to which resources and how.

healthcare professionals can use EHRs to improve patient data recording

The clinical decision support system (CDSS) is a highly developed program that acts and thinks like a doctor to help doctors analyze patient records. It is an expert system that models its recommendations on the knowledge and actions of a practicing doctor who has reviewed the patient’s medical records. 

With the development of fitness trackers and smartphones with biometric sensors for monitoring vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels, these cloud-based systems are helpful for real-time diagnosis. In addition, health providers can use CDSS for making diagnoses and writing prescriptions.

The adaptability and cost-effectiveness of cloud technology have made it a useful tool in the classroom. Medical students, doctors, professionals, and researchers are increasingly turning to cloud-based libraries to keep up with the most recent developments in their field.  


Digital libraries ensure that teachers, students, doctors, and scientists can always find the most up-to-date resources when they need them. In addition, doctors can learn about developments in the healthcare system and find resources to help them become more efficient in their work.

With cloud systems, healthcare organizations can better connect with patients because they can access patient data quickly and easily. Also, doctors and nurses can check on patients from a distance and collect real-time data.


Cloud computing helps healthcare organizations manage their supply chain more efficiently. They can also better manage patient populations more effectively, as they can access real-time data and make better decisions faster. 

Cloud solutions make it easier and faster for healthcare organizations to make and use mobile health apps. Health firms can also store and manage medical images quickly, securely, and efficiently.


Cloud-based solutions can help healthcare organizations prescribe medications to patients safely and efficiently. In addition, the big data analytics feature of cloud computing makes it easier for healthcare providers to analyze patient data and make informed decisions.

Types of Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Cloud computing in healthcare is classified based on its deployment environment and distribution service. 

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In the deployment environment, there are three main types of cloud computing in healthcare: public, private, and hybrid. We’ll briefly describe them below:

  1. Private Cloud Services

Private cloud services run on the organization’s servers and are managed by the IT department of the organization. Private cloud services are better for healthcare organizations that need to store and access sensitive data because they give more control and security than public cloud services. 

  1. Public Cloud Services

Public cloud services are hosted on the public internet and managed by a third-party hosting provider. Public cloud services are typically the least expensive and most widely used in healthcare. Public cloud services are ideal for healthcare organizations that don’t have the resources to manage their cloud infrastructure. 

  1. Hybrid Cloud Services

Hybrid cloud services combine public with private cloud services so that businesses can get the best of both worlds. Hybrid service is ideal for healthcare organizations that need to store sensitive and non-sensitive data. Hybrid cloud services combine the flexibility of public cloud services with the security and control of private cloud services.


Under distributive service, there are three major types of cloud computing in healthcare: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. We’ll briefly describe them below:

  • SaaS

SaaS is a cloud-based technology that offers web-based applications that are already set up, such as medical records management systems. With software as a service (SaaS), healthcare organizations can use cloud-based applications, but an outside party handles the hosting and management of those applications.

  • PaaS

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a type of architecture in which development environments are hosted and managed by a remote cloud service provider. It also deals with software and hardware tools, such as a debugger, compiler, and source code editor. With a PaaS, HealthTech developers can quickly build, test, and launch their apps in production environments.

  • IaaS

IaaS, which stands for “infrastructure as a service,” is when an outside cloud provider hosts a network’s servers and storage spaces.


9 Benefits of Cloud Computing in the Healthcare Industry

The introduction of cloud solutions has greatly benefited the health sector. Let’s look at some of the significant benefits of cloud computing in the healthcare industry.

benefits of cloud computing in the healthcare software domain

With the help of cloud computing, the managed healthcare system can easily combine data from many different sources, like other facilities, data repositories, healthcare apps, wearables, etc. As a result, it helps spread information about patients, lets doctors make quick diagnoses, and ensures that people get the proper treatment as soon as possible.

Cloud solutions are usually cheaper than on-premise solutions, which can help healthcare organizations save money. Also, they can help lower operational costs by automating data storage and computing power and eliminating the need for physical storage.

Cloud solutions can help healthcare organizations streamline processes to do more work in less time. Healthcare providers can do their jobs more effectively by making it easier to access and analyze data and by using less expensive and time-consuming IT infrastructure. 


Cloud providers typically use advanced encryption technologies and access control to protect sensitive medical data while in transit and at rest. Also, because cloud service providers regularly update their data security measures, health firms can keep sensitive medical information from getting into the wrong hands and prevent data breaches. 

By using cloud computing, organizations can take advantage of the security measures that providers have in place rather than developing and maintaining their security infrastructure, which can be costly and difficult to manage.

Cloud computing makes it easier for healthcare providers to collaborate and share data with other providers more quickly and securely. Also, healthcare providers can quickly and easily access patient information, which lets them give timely, personalized care.

Cloud solutions can make it easier and faster for organizations to grow their operations because they can get more resources when needed. Also, you are only charged for the resources like data storage and computing power that you use. Thus preventing business owners from spending money upfront for expensive in-house hardware and servers that they may or may not use to their full potential.


Cloud storage for medical records makes storing and finding data more accessible, reducing the need to re-enter data and making it more accessible. When patients have access to their records whenever they need them, they feel more in charge of their health care and have a more significant say in the decisions that affect them. It helps with self-care and boosts engagement.

Cloud adoption can help healthcare organizations respond more quickly to changing market conditions as they can access more resources as needed. It also helps healthcare organizations rapidly adapt to evolving regulations and technologies.

Cloud computing helps healthcare organizations reduce medical errors by providing real-time access to data. Organizations can also reduce their risk of data breaches, as cloud solutions are typically more secure than on-premise solutions.

The Daunting Sies of Using the Cloud for Healthcare

In the same way that there are benefits to using the cloud for medical care, the innovation also has potential drawbacks and dangers to look out for. As a result, many businesses are still determining whether or not to adopt the technology. Some potential risks of using the cloud for medical care include the following:

Moving from an aging system to a cloud-based one necessitates a comprehensive rethink of how work is done. Healthcare institutions need to let everyone know what their daily work means.

One of the main ways this technology is used is to store sensitive medical information in the cloud. However, because of this, it’s vulnerable to assault. In addition, in a typical configuration, the data of many healthcare organizations is stored on the same server, leading to a risk of security breaches. Also, the isolation mechanisms put in place to prevent cross-contamination may fail.


Like other industries, healthcare won’t become more efficient by only adopting cloud computing. Instead, to get the most out of the technology, healthcare organizations must connect it to IoT, AI, and data management systems.

When it comes to healthcare software, it can be hard to find skilled developers who know how to use the latest innovations. Similarly, it can take a lot of work to track down cloud experts with experience in the health system.

how to choose a cloud provider

Choosing the Best Cloud Platform for Your Healthcare Business

Microsoft Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are all well-known platforms for healthcare. However, the best cloud platform for healthcare depends on the needs and budget of the healthcare organization. 

For example, a company might need to store and manage many data in a HIPAA-compliant way. Therefore, a public cloud platform like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure may be the best. On the other hand, if an organization needs a more secure solution, a private cloud solution such as OpenStack or VMware vCloud may be the best option. 

Google Cloud Platform offers healthcare organizations various services, including big data analysis and AI. In comparison, IBM offers cloud-based AI and blockchain solutions.


How does Cloud Computing Impact Your Healthcare Practice?

Cloud Computing is disrupting the Healthcare Industry. Here are the five significant Impacts of Cloud Adoption in Healthcare:

  • Integration: Organizations can easily integrate and securely access patient data across multiple points of origin and storage. This enables healthcare providers to deliver timely, personalized care while also reducing operational costs.
  • Access to high-powered analytics: Healthcare organizations can compute relevant patient data from multiple sources and automate processes, providing real-time access to data and helping to reduce medical errors.
  • Scalability: Cloud Computing offers affordable and quicker scalability solutions that can be highly customized to healthcare needs. 
  • Regularly updated information: Cloud Computing helps healthcare organizations stay updated on the latest Medical Research and Treatments. Cloud computing is changing how data is stored, accessed, and shared in the healthcare industry. This can help them provide the best care and improve patient outcomes.
  • Increased collaboration: Cloud solutions have become a crucial part of healthcare organizations’ digital transformation, enabling them to securely share healthcare data and collaborate with other organizations more efficiently.


Cloud computing has significantly impacted the healthcare industry, and the technology is expected to keep growing in the coming years. It has become an important part of the digital transformation of the healthcare system because it lets healthcare organizations store and manage their data more efficiently and securely while giving their customers better services.


When choosing a cloud healthcare platform or engineers, organizations should consider what they need and how much they can spend. Cloud solutions can help healthcare organizations stay competitive and give their patients the best care possible.

If you still have questions, contact us. The APP Solutions has deep expertise in the field, so don’t hesitate to get us about this or any other issue.  

Do you want to take your healthcare business to the cloud? Check out this article to find out all you need to know about cloud computing solutions in healthcare.

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Cloud Computing Security Risks in 2021, and How to Avoid Them

Cloud technology turned cybersecurity on its head. The availability and scope of data, and its interconnectedness, also made it extremely vulnerable to many threats. And it took a while for companies to take this issue seriously. 

The transition to the cloud has brought new security challenges. Since cloud computing services are available online, this means anyone with the right credentials can access it. The availability of enterprise data attracts many hackers who attempt to study the systems, find flaws in them, and exploit them for their benefit.  

One of the main problems that come with assessing the security risks of cloud computing is understanding the consequences of letting these things happen within your system. 

In this article, we will look at six major cloud security threats, and also explain how to minimize risks and avoid them.

What are the main cloud computing security issues? 

1. Poor Access Management

Access management is one of the most common cloud computing security risks. The point of access is the key to everything. That’s why hackers are targeting it so much. 

In 2016 LinkedIn experienced a massive breach of user data, including account credentials (approximately 164 million). 

The reasons were:

  • insufficient crisis management 
  • ineffective information campaign 
  • the cunningness of the hackers

As a result, some of the accounts were hijacked, and this caused quite a hunt for their system admins in the coming months. 

Here’s another example of cloud security threats. A couple of months ago, the news broke that Facebook and Google stored user passwords in plaintext. While there were no leaks, this practice is almost begging to cause some. 

These are just a few of the many examples. 

So how to handle this issue?

Multi-factor authentication is the critical security component on the user’s side. It adds a layer to system access. In addition to a regular password, the user gets a disposable key on a private device. The account is locked down, and the user is sent a notification in case of an attempted break-in.  

Distinct layout for access management on the service side. This layout means determining the availability of information for different types of users. For example, the marketing department doesn’t need to have access to the quality assurance department protocols and vice versa. 

2. Data Breach and Data Leak – the main cloud security concerns

The cloud security risk of a data breach is a cause and effect thing. If the data breach happens – this means the company had neglected some of the cloud security flaws, and this caused a natural consequence.

What is a data breach? 

It is an accident in which the information is accessed and extracted without authorization. This event usually results in a data leak (aka data located where it is not supposed to be). 

Confidential information can be open to the public, but usually, it is sold on the black market or held for ransom. 

While the extent of the consequences depends on the crisis management skills of the particular company, the event itself is a blemish on a company’s reputation. 

How data breaches occur? 

The information in the cloud storage is under multiple levels of access. You can’t just stumble upon it under normal circumstances. However, it is available from various devices and accounts with cryptographic keys. In other words, a hacker can get into it if he knows someone who has access to it. 

Here’s how a data breach operation can go down:

  • It all starts with a hacker studying the company’s structure for weaknesses (aka exploits). This process includes both people and technology. 
  • Upon identifying a victim, the hacker finds a way to approach a targeted individual. This operation includes identifying social media accounts, interests, and possible flaws of the individual.
  • After that, the victim is tricked into giving access to the company’s network. There are two ways of doing that:
  • Technological, via malware sneakily installed on a victim’s computer;
  • Social engineering, by gaining trust and persuading someone to give out their login credentials;

That’s how a cybercriminal exploits a security threat in cloud computing, gets access to the system, and extracts the data.

The most prominent recent data breach is the one that happened in Equifax in 2017. It resulted in a leak of personal data of over 143 million consumers. Why? Equifax’s developers hadn’t updated their software to fix the reported vulnerability. Hackers took advantage of this and the breach happened.

How to avoid data breaches from happening? 

A cloud security system must have a multi-layered approach that checks and covers the whole extent of user activity every step of the way. This practice includes:

Multi-factor Authentication – The user must present more than evidence of his identity and access credentials. For example, typing a password and then receiving a notification on a mobile phone with a randomly generated single-use string of numbers active for a short period. This has become one of cloud security standards nowadays. 

Data-at-Rest Encryption. Data-at-rest is a type of data that is stored in the system but not actively used on different devices. This process includes logs, databases, datasets, etc. 

Perimeter firewall between a private and public network that controls in and out traffic in the system;

Internal firewall to monitor  authorized traffic and detect anomalies; 

3. Data Loss

If a data breach wasn’t bad enough, there is an even worse cloud security threat – it can get irreversibly lost like tears in the rain. Data loss is one of the cloud security risks that are hard to predict, and even harder to handle. 

Let’s look at three of the most common reasons for data loss:

Data alteration – when information is in some way changed, and cannot be reverted to the previous state. This issue may happen with dynamic databases.

Unreliable storage medium outage – when data gets lost due to problems on the cloud service provider’s side.

Data deletion – i.e.,  accidental or wrongful erasure of information from the system with no backups to restore. The reason is usually a human error, messy database structure, system glitch, or malicious intent. 

Loss of access – when information is still in the system but unavailable due to lack of encryption keys and other credentials (for example, personal account data)

How to prevent data loss from happening? 


Frequent data backups are the most effective way of avoiding data loss in the majority of its forms. You need a schedule for the operation and a clear delineation of what kind of data is eligible for backups and what is not. Use data loss prevention software to automate the process. 

Geodiversity – i.e., when the physical location of the cloud servers in data centers is scattered and not dependent on a particular spot. This feature helps in dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters and power outages. 

One of the most infamous examples of data loss is the recent MySpace debacle

It resulted in 12 years of user activity and uploaded content getting lost. Here’s what happened. During a cloud migration process in 2015, it turned out that a significant amount of user data, (including media uploads like images and music), got lost due to data corruption. Since MySpace wasn’t doing backups – there was no way to restore it. When users started asking questions, customer support said that the company is working on the issue, and a couple of months later, the truth came out. This incident is considered to be another nail in the coffin of an already dying social network. 

Don’t be like MySpace, do backups.

4. Insecure API

Application User Interface (aka API) is the primary instrument used to operate the system within the cloud infrastructure. 

This process includes internal use by the company’s employees and external use by consumers via products like mobile or web applications. The external side is critical due to all data transmission enabling the service and, in return, providing all sorts of analytics. The availability of API makes it a significant cloud security risk. In addition to that, API is involved in gathering data from edge computing devices.

Multi-factor authentication and encryption are two significant factors that keep the system regulated and safe from harm.

However, sometimes the configuration of the API is not up to requirements and contains severe flaws that can compromise its integrity. The most common problems that occur are:

  • Anonymous access (i.e., access without Authentication) 
  • Lack of access controls (may also occur due to negligence)
  • Reusable tokens and passwords (frequently used in brute force attacks)
  • Clear-text Authentication (when you can see input on the screen)

The most prominent example of insecure API in action is the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook API had deep access to user data and Cambridge Analytica used it for its own benefit. 

How to avoid problems with API? 

There are several ways:

  • Penetration testing that emulates an external attack targeting specific API endpoints, and attempting to break the security and gain access to the company’s internal information.
  • General system security audits
  • Secure Socket Layer / Transport Layer Security encryption for data transmission
  • Multi-factor Authentication to prevent unauthorized access due to security compromises. 

5. Misconfigured Cloud Storage

Misconfigured Cloud Storage is a continuation of an insecure API cloud security threat. For the most part, security issues with cloud computing happen due to an oversight and subsequent superficial audits.  

Here’s what happens.

Cloud misconfiguration is a setting for cloud servers (for storage or computing purposes) that makes it vulnerable to breaches. 

The most common types of misconfiguration include: 

Default cloud security settings of the server with standard access management and availability of data; 

Mismatched access management – when an unauthorized person unintentionally gets access to sensitive data;

Mangled data access – when confidential data is left out in the open and requires no authorization. 

A good example of cloud misconfiguration is the National Security Agency’s recent mishap. A stash of secure documents was available to screen from an external browser.  

Here’s how to avoid it.

Double-check cloud security configurations upon setting up a particular cloud server. While it seems obvious, it gets passed by for the sake of more important things like putting stuff into storage without second thoughts regarding its safety.

Use specialized tools to check security configurations. There are third-party tools like CloudSploit and Dome9 that can check the state of security configurations on a schedule and identify possible problems before it is too late.  

6. DoS Attack – Denial-of-service attack

Scalability is one of the significant benefits of transitioning to the cloud. The system can carry a considerable workload. 

But that doesn’t mean it can handle more unexpectedly. It can overload and stop working. That’s a significant cloud security threat. 

Sometimes, the goal is not to get into the system but to make it unusable for customers. That’s called a denial-of-service attack. In essence, DoS is an old-fashioned system overload with a rocket pack on the back. 

The purpose of the denial-of-service attack is to prevent users from accessing the applications or disrupting their workflow. 

DoS is a way of messing with the service-level agreement (SLA) between the company and the customer. This intervention results in damaging the credibility of the company. The thing is – one of the SLA requirements is the quality of the service and its availability. 

Denial-of-Service puts an end to that. 

There are two major types of DoS attack:

  • Brute force attack from multiple sources (classic DDoS),
  • More elaborate attacks targeted at specific system exploits (like image rendering, feed streaming, or content delivery) 

During a DoS attack, the system resources are stretched thin. Lack of resources to scale causes multiple speed and stability issues across the board. Sometimes it means an app works slow or it simply cannot load properly. For users, it seems like getting stuck in a traffic jam. For the company, it is a quest to identify and neuter the sources of the disruption, and also increased spending on the increased use of resources. 

2014 Sony PlayStation Network attack is one of the most prominent examples of denial-of-service attacks. It is aimed at frustrating consumers by crashing the system by both brute forces and being kept down for almost a day.

How to avoid a DoS attack?

Up-to-date Intrusion Detection System. The system needs to be able to identify anomalous traffic and provide an early warning based on credentials and behavioral factors. It is a cloud security break-in alarm.

Firewall Traffic Type Inspection features to check the source and destination of incoming traffic, and also assess its possible nature by IDS tools. This feature helps to sort out good and bad traffic and swiftly cut out the bad.

Source Rate Limiting – one of the critical goals of DoS is to consume bandwidth. 

Blocking of the IP addresses, that are considered to be a source of an attack, helps to keep the situation under control.

Other security risks and threats 

To get a clear picture, you should be aware of the following network security threats and risks that may appear on the cloud, as well as on-premise servers. 

Cloud-Unique Threats and Risks

  • Reduced Visibility and Control from customers
  • Separation Among Multiple Tenants Fails
  • Data Deletion is Incomplete

Cloud and On-Premise Threats and Risks

  • Credentials are Stolen
  • Vendor Lock-In Complicates Moving to Other CSPs
  • Increased Complexity Strains IT Staff
  • CSP Supply Chain is Compromised
  • Insufficient Due Diligence Increases Cybersecurity Risk

How to make your IT project secured?

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In conclusion

The adoption of cloud technology was a game-changer both for companies and hackers. It brought a whole new set of security risks for cloud computing and created numerous cloud security issues. 

The shift to cloud technology gave companies much-needed scalability and flexibility to remain competitive and innovative in the ever-changing business operations. At the same time, it made enterprise data vulnerable to leaks and losses due to a variety of factors. 

Following the standards of cloud security is the best way to protect your company from reputational and monetary losses.

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