We cannot stress enough the importance of adhering to HIPAA regulations. Healthcare organizations who utilize the cloud must follow these regulations to secure and protect personal health information (PHI). While Microsoft Azure includes features to enable a customer’s privacy and security compliance, customers are ultimately responsible for determining if the applications they intend to run on Azure comply with HIPAA requirements. Those wanting to leverage Microsoft Azure for healthcare data in the cloud should always have a business associate agreement (BAA) with their service provider, and they should evaluate and be aware if their environment meets HIPAA regulations.
Building, migrating, managing and supporting your business applications in Azure can be complex, but adding HIPAA compliance to the mix increases that complexity. Microsoft does not analyze customer data or applications deployed by Azure. Therefore, there are a few specifics that you should evaluate as you design, implement and operate a customer solution in Azure. These specifics include risk and security management, applications and data, configuration of services, access controls, redundancy and backups, and personnel.
In many cases, when a covered healthcare company wants to use a cloud service like Azure, the service provider must agree in a written document, a BAA, to obey certain security and privacy requirements set out in HIPAA. Azure services are audited by independent external auditors, and it is your responsibility to make sure your cloud service provider works with you to ensure the applications adhere to HIPAA regulations.
Fortunately, Connectria’s Azure-certified engineers and HIPAA/HITECH compliant experts can help you navigate these challenges. If you are subject to regulatory compliance, you may benefit from Azure’s on-demand, “pay-as-you-go” cloud features and Connectria’s expert HIPAA managed services. With Azure, you will have close integration with other Microsoft tools such as SharePoint and Office 365, and our HIPAA managed services will reduce time, cost and risk.
In order to take advantage of Azure’s cloud platform and to ensure that the proper precautions are in place, many organizations turn to a service cloud provider to set up and provide fully managed services. Connectria’s HIPAA support team is available 7 days a week and provides 24/7 support. If you have any questions regarding HIPAA compliance and/or Managed Azure services, please contact us.