We are excited to announce that as of April 1, 2021, Google Cloud VMware Engineis covered under the Google Cloud Business Associate Agreement (BAA), meaning it has achieved HIPAA compliance. Healthcare organizations can now migrate and run their HIPAA-compliant VMware workloads in a fully compatible VMware Cloud Verified stack running natively in Google Cloud with Google Cloud VMware Engine, without changes or re-architecture to tools, processes, or applications.
Healthcare organizations increasingly use cloud platforms to personalize patient care, analyze large datasets more effectively, enhance research and development collaboration, and share medical knowledge. Leveraging cloud platforms can also help healthcare organizations increase the privacy and security of information systems, including protected health information (PHI), and, as a result, better comply with applicable laws and regulations while reducing the burden of compliance. For PHI, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) set standards in the United States to protect individually identifiable health information. HIPAA applies to health plans, most healthcare providers, and healthcare clearinghouses that manage PHI electronically, and to persons or entities that perform certain functions on their behalf.
With Google Cloud, organizations can leverage solutions that enable secure, continuous patient care and data-driven clinical and operational decisions with ease, while being empowered with collaboration and productivity tools. Further, Google Cloud Platform supports HIPAA compliance. We offer HIPAA-regulated customers the same products at the same pricing that is available to all customers, unlike many other cloud providers.
For healthcare organizations that leverage VMware on-premises, having a consistent, cloud-integrated platform that provides seamless access to native cloud services unlocks the opportunity to extend, migrate, and modernize healthcare IT infrastructure and applications in a fast, low-risk manner at their own pace. This is especially important for mission-critical healthcare provider workloads, where having a low-risk way to adopt the cloud is important. Google Cloud VMware Engine offers that solution. By achieving coverage under Google Cloud’s BAA, Google Cloud VMware Engine enables healthcare organizations to realize the benefits of cloud computing and stay on track with their HIPAA compliance efforts without additional complexity. This is very relevant in hybrid scenarios, where customers would like to leverage other native cloud services such as analytics and big data processing, without having to enter into multiple BAAs.
Google Cloud VMware Engine offers dedicated, isolated software-defined datacenter environments with fully redundant and dedicated 100 Gbps networking that are suitable for healthcare organizations to run applications storing and processing PHI data. Customers have the ability to encrypt their virtual storage area network (vSAN) using an external key management server. Healthcare customers can run their workloads in a native VMware environment—vSphere, vCenter, vSAN, NSX-T, and HCX—while benefiting from Google Cloud’s highly performant infrastructure to meet the needs of their workloads. Customers can connect their VMware applications to native Google Cloud services such as BigQuery and artificial intelligence (AI) to derive new insights from existing data and quickly make informed decisions.
Protecting against and mitigating the impact of ransomware attacks is top-of-mind for Healthcare organizations. This requires building a cyber resilience program and back-up strategy to prepare for how users can restore core systems or assets affected by a security (in this case, ransomware) incident. This is a critical function for supporting recovery timelines and lessening the impact of a cyber event so organizations can get back to operating their business. Google Cloud VMware Engine in combination with Google Cloud first party solutions such as Actifio Go, or partner solutions such as NetApp CVO can provide an efficient way to recover incremental point-in-time backups along with on-demand provisioning of new compute to recover both data and infrastructure from Ransomware attacks quickly and efficiently.
Healthcare customers can also use Google Cloud VMware Engine as a disaster recovery (DR) target for their on-premises VMware workloads. Healthcare organizations also need a business continuity plan for their mission critical applications. When a disaster occurs, hospitals need their data protected so they can quickly get back to treating patients. It is a HIPAA requirement that healthcare organizations must be able to recover from a natural disaster. Google Cloud VMware Engine offers a like-for-like cost-effective DR target for these customers. The DR environment can be operated without new training using the same tools as their on-premises deployment. Google Cloud VMware Engine is currently available in 12 regions across the globe including three regions in the US, which means our regional and multi-national customers can take advantage of this service for geographic diversification as well.
If you are interested in understanding more and taking advantage of Google Cloud VMware Engine, contact your Google sales team now.
For details, see HIPAA compliance on Google Cloud Platform.
Note: This post has been contributed to by Manish Lohani, Product Management, Google Cloud and Wade Holmes, Solution Management, Google Cloud
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