Managing data backup and recovery on a large scale is challenging, no matter which types of clients MSPs support. Backing up healthcare data, however, presents a unique set of challenges, due both to compliance requirements like HIPAA and the volume of data that healthcare companies produce.
Those challenges can be met, but only with the help of the right software tools and the right backup and recovery methodologies. Here’s the story of how one American MSP leveraged MSP360 Managed Backup Service’s unique features to achieve HIPAA-compliant backup storage in the public cloud.
The Challenges of Backing Up Healthcare Data
DTC, an MSP based in Maryland, provides a range of managed services to hundreds of clients. In all, the company manages about 500 servers for backup services and is responsible for more than 400 terabytes of backup storage.
All of the businesses that DTC supports operate in the medical or dental industries. As a result, most of the data that the company backs up for its clients is subject to HIPAA, a US federal law that imposes a variety of regulations regarding how healthcare-related data is managed and stored. For DTC, relevant HIPAA requirements include mandatory password protection for access to backup data, as well as the encryption of all backups. The company must also retain backup data for an extended time period because HIPAA mandates that most medical records be preserved for a minimum of seven years -- far longer than archival backups would typically be maintained in other industries.
In addition to HIPAA requirements, the sheer volume of the data that DTC must back up for clients presents a further challenge. A large portion of the data produced by the MSP’s clients constitutes medical images, which account for about eighty percent of their total backup data. With so much data to store, local backup storage is not a realistic solution. Nor is frequent movement of data between one storage provider and another. These facts make it critical for an MSP like DTC to select reliable, cost-effective storage in the cloud.
On top of all of this, DTC’s clients also tend to be especially price-sensitive. The company’s profit margins for managed backup services are consequently tighter than they might be within other verticals. To ensure profitability, DTC must be extra careful to streamline the operating costs associated with managed backup software and storage.
How MSP360 Enables HIPAA-Compliant, Cloud-Friendly Backup
Faced with the need for a backup software solution that is both HIPAA-compliant and cost-effective, DTC chose MSP360 Managed Backup Service. In addition to making it easy to back up data to the cloud, MSP360 offers a range of features that address the unique challenges faced by DTC and other MSPs that operate in the healthcare industry.
MSP360 Managed Backup Service provides built-in master-password-based access control to protect backup data, which helps DTC to meet HIPAA requirements involving access protection.
The platform also supports image-based backup. This feature saves DTC time and simplifies the backup of complex systems by allowing DTC staff to create backup images of entire servers, rather than having to back up individual files. Images also give technicians the option of spinning up replacement systems quickly in the cloud using backup images, which streamlines recovery operations.
In addition, MSP360’s web-based interface allows DTC to manage all of its clients’ backup plans and data from a central interface. Combined with MSP360’s reporting features and alerts, as well as its integration with ConnectWise’s professional services automation tools, the MSP360 interface simplifies backup management and helps the DTC team to maintain visibility into failures or other issues that could threaten the integrity of its clients’ data and lead to HIPAA violations.
MSP360 Managed Backup Service’s cost, too, is another critical advantage. Since switching to MSP360 from a competing backup platform, DTC has increased its profit margins, while also reducing the time it takes for backup operations to run and eliminating the problems with backup failures and data errors that it experienced with other backup software.
In an interview, a DTC technician called MSP360 one of the most “economically friendly solutions” within the backup software market, adding, “If you are managing a lot of backups, I would highly suggest the MSP360 Managed Backup.”
In short, with the help of MSP360 Managed Backup Service, DTC can confidently sign a HIPAA business associate agreement, or BAA, with its clients, giving them confidence that it is prepared to meet the unique challenges of HIPAA backup and recovery. At the same time, the company is able to keep its backup costs trim and manage backup data reliably, even with hundreds of terabytes’ worth of storage to support.