Safety & HIPAA in the Cloud

It’s unusual for a month to go by without a serious breach of some company’s or government’s data. For example, according to the New York Times, records for 1.7 million patients, staff members, and contractors at a NYC hospital were stolen recently.  Serious issues exist with regard to data security and privacy. Given HIPAA, these concerns are especially problematic for health care. An article in the January, 2011 issue of Communications of the ACM –Computer Science’s equivalent of the New England Journal of Medicine, noted that

“The problem of data privacy in general is of course well known, but cloud computing magnifies it”

along with

“Policies are a first step, but alone they are insufficient to prevent cloud service providers from abusing the data entrusted to them.”

All other considerations aside — and there are many on both sides of the equation — given the fines for HIPAA violations, I’m not ready to commit my data to someone else’s computers.

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