Concerns over data security, particularly in the financial and medical services industries, have led to the development of new standards and regulations that govern how information is secured. As businesses move their data and applications to the cloud, managed hosting services can provide a cost-effective way to comply with heightened security requirements imposed by standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA/HITECH and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Companies that store, process or transmit cardholder data, for instance, are governed by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This is a worldwide security standard created to help businesses that handle cardholder data to enhance security measures and protect customers from credit card fraud. In order to achieve compliance, businesses must be able to meet 12 stringent requirements and more than 200 security controls. Compliance is essential, however, since failure to follow the standard can result in heavy financial penalties.
Data security is also essential for the medical services industry. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare organizations to protect the privacy of individually identifiable health information. Organizations found in violation of HIPAA standards are liable for a maximum penalty of up to $1.5 million, as dictated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
Achieving compliance, however, can be challenging even for established businesses, since it’s necessary to allocate a considerable amount of time and resources into building a secure, standards-compliant IT infrastructure. By utilizing the services of managed hosting providers with extensive experience in compliance management, companies can take advantage of the service providers’ secure infrastructure and the expertise of personnel who are well-versed in the intricacies of industry/regulatory standards.
Preparing an organization’s IT infrastructure for compliance requires a number of essential steps, which covers everything from installing anti-virus software and firewalls, to implementing strong access control measures and maintaining an information systems security policy. Regular log analysis, audits and host vulnerability scans are also implemented as part of a provider’s compliance solution to spot potential security issues.
By entrusting mission-critical and sensitive client data to a managed hosting service provider, companies can rest assured that their database is housed in a secure network with enhanced security protocols and the constant care of IT professionals.
Considering the cost of running and maintaining a dedicated server, utilizing the services of a managed hosting service provider makes good business sense. By offloading server management and administration tasks to the experts, companies can focus on their core business competencies.