While we have noticed in the last couple of years a growing move towards specialized information management technologies for specific verticals, it is still relatively rare in cloud computing. However, the announcement by medical cloud provider ClearDATA that it has raised US$ 7 million in Series B funding suggests this is changing.
Cloud Computing and Compliance
ClearDATA provides a cloud platform specifically for healthcare and in doing so offers potential users access to a cloud product that is HIPAA compliant, along with the agility and scalability of cloud computing.
According to a statement from the company, the money will be used to develop its healthcare cloud computing market and to expand its sales and commercial operations team. The funding has been provided by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) and Excel Venture Management.
At first glance, this may seem like a large amount of money to invest in such a narrow market. However, it goes to the heart of one of the big problems with cloud computing for people working with sensitive information in a number of verticals. In its current form and with persistent fears over the security of information in the cloud, it has been hard to convince many enterprises to move to cloud computing. But what if a vendor could provide guarantees around security?
The potential of this market can be gauged in healthcare, for example, by virtue of the fact that ClearDATA, which was only founded in 2010, already has 300,000 healthcare professionals on its HealthDATA cloud. According to ClearDATA, these professionals range form people working in large hospitals to small, local healthcare providers that are looking for ways to reduce capital expenditure.
In fact, the healthcare IT market is estimated to be worth around US$ 35 billion and is growing at a compound rate of around 20% every year.
HealthDATA Cloud and Compliance
The difference between the HealthDATA Cloud and other cloud storage products from the likes of Amazon Web Services, or Azure, is that it is HIPAA compliant, which neither AWS nor Azure are.
In the case of HealthDATA, this means that while data is located in one of the company’s data centers in the US, it is stored in a location that keeps it compliant with HIPAA standards, and where it can be audited as deemed necessary by HIPAA.
The information is also kept in storage centers that have been designed specifically for the storage of healthcare data and images. This is in contrast to the multi-tenant, commodity servers that characterize cloud models like AWS and which cannot guarantee regulatory compliance.
ClearDATA has been able to demonstrate that there is money in specialized cloud computing, at least in the healthcare space. However, there are other verticals that are heavily regulated and have a lot of money to spend — finance and legal verticals being the obvious ones.
It took a while for specialized applications to emerge in the information management space, but there are quite number of them out there at the moment. Given compliance and regulatory regimes in place now, there is no reason to think that it will not happen with cloud computing either.
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