Office 365 and the value of cloud-based solutions

Microsoft’s Office 365 has made a huge splash within business IT. In fact, a study from security firm Bitglass found the service to hold 25.2 percent of the enterprise market in 2015, which was a 300 percent increase over the previous year. This even beat out Google Apps, hoisting Office 365 above the competition and showing just how valuable this solution is.

That said, many organizations are hesitant to make the switch to cloud-based platforms for a number of reasons. To that end, we’d like to dispel some rumors about Office 365 and get to the heart of what makes this service great.

Cloud-based solutions make sense for multiple verticals

“The cloud’s many advantages simply cannot be ignored.”

The cloud’s many advantages simply cannot be ignored at this point. The technology’s ability to increase innovation and flexibility while also keeping costs low is an incredibly central part of its selling point. In fact, Matthew McClelland of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has stated that these exact reasons were the drivers behind his organization’s switch to Office 365.

“We were often stuck in the old way of doing IT,” said McClelland, who is the manager of the information governance office at BCBSNC. “Slow waterfall-style projects that took a lot of time to roll stuff out. When you add up the cost of everyone’s time, impact to our operations, the impact on the day-to-day work of users, it’s expensive.”

Of course, health care isn’t the only sector seeing the benefits of cloud-based solutions like Office 365. Fortune quoted Curt Kolcun of Microsoft as saying that the number of Microsoft Cloud for Government users is around 5.2 million, which includes Office 365 as well as other cloud services.

Regulatory compliance is a must

Of course, many sectors have more to worry about than cost and flexibility. Regulatory standards, such as those imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, come down hard on institutions that can’t follow the rules. In fact, a violation of HIPAA carries a maximum annual penalty of $1.5 million.

HIPAA has strict rules. Violating HIPAA could result in massive fines.

Again, this is where Office 365 shines. McClelland also reported that HIPAA used to be a “hurdle” for medical cloud migrations. However, Office 365 is now HIPAA-compliant, ensuring McClelland’s organization stays on the right side of the law.

ISG Technology can help with your transition

While Office 365 clearly has many benefits for all kinds of institutions, making the transition can sometimes be difficult. To that end, it makes sense to partner with an experienced company that knows all about what a move to the cloud means for an organization. ISG Technology is more than happy to be that partner for you.

Our trained professionals have the experience necessary to help you navigate the tricky waters of transition, both in terms of overall cost and regulatory standards. We know how important this move is to you, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Contact an ISG Technology representative today and find out what your organization can get out of Office 365.

How ISG handles HIPAA compliance

Health care data is heavily monitored in the U.S. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has very strict regulatory standards about how this kind of information can be handled. One wrong decision could result in some hefty fines, even if the person or organization didn’t know they were making a mistake. The American Medical Association has stated that even accidentally violating HIPAA could cost a medical facility up to $50,000 per violation.

Clearly, making a mistake when handling medical records isn’t an option, which is why ISG Technology works with health care providers to ensure they don’t stumble. But what exactly can ISG do for you?

“Accidentally violating HIPAA could cost a medical facility up to $50,000 per violation.”

Issues with security aren’t always apparent

The main advantage of partnering with ISG is that we can help you get ready for an actual HIPAA compliance audit by zeroing in on problems you might not even notice.

One of the main issues our engineers run into when assessing a hospital’s network is the fact that security credentials often aren’t taken as seriously as they should be. Basically, employees who only need to view certain kinds of data are often able to access information they shouldn’t be able to see. In an average hospital network, only about two or three employees should be given admin privileges. However, ISG experts often come into an assessment and find that 100 workers in a 700-user system will have domain admin accounts.

This is a problem because it creates a huge number of entry points for a hacker who can socially engineer her way into accessing one of these accounts. According to past experience recounted by security firm Social-Engineer, more than two-thirds of employees will provide a stranger with their information such as their birthday, Social Security number or their personal employee ID. A hacker could easily call into this hospital and use this information to trick a staff member into giving them login credentials to an admin account, thereby allowing the criminal free reign over a network.

Hackers use social engineering to get data. Sometimes, accessing private information is as easy as asking for it.

ISG can help you fix these problems and pass an audit

HIPAA audits are extremely comprehensive, and getting a perfect score is next to impossible. In fact, as the above example shows, health care facilities often have numerous issues that they don’t even know about, which can decrease an organization’s standing if an auditor were to discover these problems.

ISG can help these facilities decrease the number of red flags to a manageable and reasonable number, thereby increasing the chances of passing an inspection. Health care data is extremely private, and ensuring its safety should be a top priority.

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