In the past 10 years, companies have been shifting their data and data processing to the Cloud at increasing rates – the global market for services in the Cloud is worth about $132 billion today, according to Forrester Research.
Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services — from applications to storage and processing power — typically over the internet and on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The Cloud has made possible the X-as-a-Service model. Typically, this means that a specific type of software is made available from the Cloud to a company. For example, Communications-as-a-Service would provide voice over IP (VoIP or Internet telephony), instant messaging, and collaboration and video conference applications using fixed and mobile devices. In other words, everything you might get from your local telecommunications company, only in one, probably less expensive and reliable package.
Just about any type of service is today available from the Cloud. Rather than owning their own computing infrastructure or data centers, companies can pay a fixed fee for access to anything from applications to storage from an X-as-a-Service provider in the Cloud. So, instead of incurring large amounts in capital expense to buy computer hardware, software and pay the technicians who make it all work, a company can pay only for the service itself.
And that service is likely to be low-cost, as providers of cloud computing services can benefit from significant economies of scale by delivering the same services to a wide range of customers.
Is Data Secure in the Cloud?
Data in the Cloud can be more secure than data stored on computers in the company offices. This is because commercial cloud storage systems encode each user’s data with a specific encryption key. Without the key, it’s nearly impossible to read the files, and cracking high-level encryption is pretty tough, even for a cyber-criminal.
But now comes a big difference between commercial Cloud services and those provided by an individual vendor – the difference between a private Cloud and public Cloud. The difference, as regards security, involves where the key to the encryption is kept.
DropBox, or Microsoft One Drive, for example, are public Clouds. User accesses them via a password, and the server finds the encryption key and makes the data usable.
This is much more convenient than having users keep the keys themselves. The danger here is that the key is stored online, so a hacker could gain access to it – and this has happened more than once — for example, in 2013, Target stores were hacked and pins for account access were stolen, as the hacker gained access to the encryption keys for numerous accounts.
The private Cloud, used by many X-a-a-S providers, is online data storage that is controlled by the vendor. Security for every aspect of the private Cloud, including how encryption keys are stored, is usually at a much higher level in the private Cloud, because the storage is dedicated to the vendor’s clients.
Data is reasonably safe in the public Cloud, but very safe in the private Cloud. “Using the private cloud gives you dedicated infrastructure with protected access, with more agility to make the right choices in terms of access, compliance and physical protection. With the right protocols, compliance and security software, your data and intellectual property can be as or more secure in a remote private data center or private data center suite, as if it were located on-premises,” writes one security expert.
For healthcare, Secure Data Storage and Data Analytics at Low Cost
The vendor-provided private Cloud has another advantage for healthcare: Data treatment can be structured for compliance. Every aspect of data storage can be done in a way that corresponds to regulatory requirements.
Cloud computing provides your company with a competitive edge over the competitors when it comes to accessing the latest and mission-critical applications whenever you need them without having to invest your time and money on installations. It lets you focus on keeping up with the business competition by offering access to most trending and in-demand applications and doing all the manual work of installing and maintaining the applications for you.
For pharmaceuticals, the advantages of outsourcing applications to the Cloud are vast, as “Both biotech and pharmaceuticals firms are under intense public and governmental scrutiny and are tightly regulated. They also regularly use massive amounts of data as they trial new products, new cures, and new solutions,” writes one expert. “So the biggest game changer for biotech and pharmaceuticals firms is the ability to replicate whole components of the lab in the cloud computing environment. No need to invest in new local hardware or software – simply purchase some cloud-based computing power or storage.”
The last decade has seen the rise of a large number of successful X-a-a-S platforms. For example, SAP’s Cloud-based ERP systems have become market leader, with a 19 percent market share, and SAP’s new “backend in the Cloud” offer is seeing great success. Another company working with the X-a-a-S model that dominates the market is Salesforce, which now commands 34 percent of the CRM market according to a study by IDC.
One such challenge is the management of rosters of membership data from GPOs, IDNs, and other sources for which PointData has provided the leading solution.
Rosters are used by manufacturers to determine eligibility for contract sales when adjudicating charge-back and rebate transactions. Membership data also serves a second, and equally critical purpose, to assist Manufacturers in designating customer trade class for use in regulated price reporting and sales and marketing activities.
PointData: IDN and GPO Roster Management in the Cloud
The amount of roster data is vast, and its unstructured form makes it difficult to work with.
PointData, an outsourcing partner, provides data storage in its own private Cloud. Point Data also provides the aggregation and structuring of roster data for pharmaceuticals manufacturers as a service. Updates are done in real-time, and ensures that roster data is accessible and easy to use for pharmaceuticals manufacturers, while guaranteeing its safety.
The service is provided at a cost that is far below what pharmaceuticals manufacturers would have to pay to gain the hardware, software and expertise to process roster data. At the same time, PointData helps pharmaceuticals firms adapt to the efficient use of such data, providing services to optimize contracting, rebates, strategic objectives and process assessment.
PointData was founded by a team of seasoned IT professionals, all with years of experience in the healthcare industry. We believe the roster management processes and rebate processes for pharmaceuticals/biotech firms is in dire need of an update. As a result, our focus is on helping organizations to make their entire contracting process more efficient and to drive down the cost of services, freeing up resources to focus on activities that add greater value. Today, PointData is improving efficiency in the healthcare industry by offering a Data-as-a-Service platform and providing consulting services to integrate cutting-edge solutions.