As healthcare IT organizations grapple with reduced budgets, increased regulation and now the disruptions created by a global pandemic, the costs associated with disaster recovery are receiving renewed analysis. The struggle for organizations? How to continue providing the delivery of care and continuity to the business of healthcare in the face of disaster while endeavoring to reduce costs.

Auditors and critical application vendors are also increasingly asking for enhanced frequency of disaster recovery exercises, requiring organizations to demonstrate an ability to bring services online in the disaster recovery site and subsequently bring them back to the primary site. This is a significant change in requirements; for years, tabletop exercises were considered enough to check the box for auditors and vendors. Enhanced drilling can be a daunting task for organizations that haven’t regularly exercised their disaster plans, especially since they are generally juggling an assortment of other priorities that support operations and delivery of care, including EMR go-lives, M&A activity, and the ever-increasing burden of KTLO (keeping the lights on) for primary environments.

One of the options that is top of mind for many healthcare IT organizations is how to leverage the cloud. Cloud encompasses many things ranging from SaaS to IaaS, and brings with it the elasticity of large public cloud providers. For organizations seeking to reduce operational and capital expenses, moving an application to a SaaS setup in the cloud is a viable and effective way to lower the overhead for operating an application—be it around disaster recovery, or the daily care and feeding of a primary environment. To best accommodate the unique needs of the healthcare industry, a hybrid public cloud strategy enables support of large, monolithic applications and legacy applications not capable of making the cloud jump.

Leveraging public cloud elasticity to reduce costs, the hybrid approach for disaster recovery provides the flexibility healthcare IT teams and decision-makers need to make the right financial and architectural decisions. One of the largest savings opportunities for healthcare is around the application virtualization environment, which tends to have an aggressive hardware refresh cycle. Eliminating the need for hardware refreshes can result in up to millions of dollars in savings, in addition to the significant savings of keeping footprints small and paying only for usage as needed. This model significantly reduces the cyclical nature of capital expenses associated with technology refreshes, maintenance, and scaling capacity at the disaster recovery site.

Healthcare has been historically slow to explore and adopt public cloud for many reasons, but this has changed significantly over the last 12 to 18 months, driven by several factors including the amplification of healthcare services in response to the current pandemic, as well as an increased focus by public cloud vendors on the unique needs of healthcare, EHR maturity, the tools used by enterprises enhancing cloud capabilities, and the need to reduce costs. A hybrid cloud strategy for disaster recovery won’t be the right answer for every organization, but it can be a viable cost savings option for many.

If your organization is seeking to strengthen its disaster recovery plan while reducing operational and capital expenses, reach out to a Sirius Rep for more information.