Ransomware Resilience and Recovery for Epic EHR on Azure

| Author , tagged in Epic EHR
Cloudticity, L.L.C.

Ransomware threats are increasing in healthcare. In the event of an attack, the common response is to shut down the electronic health records (EHR) system, along with disaster recovery (DR) and reporting environments, effectively thwarting the attacker's ability to proceed. However, this action also hinders clinicians' access to vital data necessary for their duties.

Without access to the EHR system, care quality suffers. In fact, and one report found that mortality rates at hospitals increase due to cyber attacks.

If shutting down the system is not an option, what steps can you take to ensure business continuity and data security during a  ransomware attack? In this blog post, we will explore a cutting-edge ransomware solution for hospitals utilizing for Epic on Microsoft Azure cloud. By employing this solution, you can enhance operational resilience in the face of cyber threats.

How Can Hospitals Improve Ransomware Recovery for Epic?

During a ransomware attack, you need to cut off access to Epic EHR so bad guys can't get in. But staff still needs access to carry out their job functions. By leveraging the cloud read-only solution on Azure, healthcare organizations can uphold access to critical Epic production data while still thwarting attacks.

What is Epic Cloud Read-Only Ransomware Solution for Hospitals?

Cloud read-only is a hospital ransomware solution that involves running a read-only copy of Epic and supporting infrastructure on Azure. 

In the event of a ransomware attack, hospitals can turn off Epic production, reporting, and DR systems, and turn on the cloud read-only environment within minutes. This environment is a protected replica of Epic production and will be mere seconds behind.

How is Epic Cloud Read-Only on Azure Different From Other Ransomware Solutions?

Hospitals are required to have emergency preparedness plans that include business continuity access systems, read-only systems, and alternate production or disaster recovery systems. But unfortunately, these systems are almost always on the same network that the ransomware is, so during an attack they have to be taken offline too. That’s where the gap is. Epic Cloud Read-Only (CRO) on Azure is different because it does not live on your network. It is an entirely independent instance and can be accessed safely by clinicians during an attack to mitigate the threat of ransomware for hospitals.

What are the Benefits of the Ransomware Solution for Epic EHR on Azure?

Here are the top benefits.

Enhancing Business Continuity and Resilience

When hospitals fall victim to ransomware attacks, they often face the daunting task of halting patient care and relocating individuals to distant clinics, which can have adverse effects on health outcomes. However, with the implementation of CRO, hospitals can maintain normal operations even in the face of ransomware attacks.

Accessing Critical Epic Production Data During Disasters

Access to historical patient data is crucial for clinicians to make informed healthcare decisions. In situations where the EHR system is inaccessible, clinicians are left to rely on patients for medical histories, which can lead to crucial details being overlooked. By utilizing CRO, clinicians can securely access vital information and provide optimal care to patients, even when the production environment is compromised.

Securing Patient Data

Hospital CIOs often face the dilemma of deciding when to shut down systems during ransomware attacks. The fear of prematurely reactivating the system can result in patient data falling into the wrong hands, posing a significant risk to patient privacy. CRO empowers health IT leaders to confidently protect patient data by enabling immediate shutdowns and ensuring the system remains offline for as long as necessary to mitigate ransomware threats.

Reducing Cybersecurity Insurance Costs

The escalating costs of cybersecurity insurance premiums are a growing concern for health IT budgets, particularly with the surge in ransomware attacks. However, hospitals can significantly reduce these premiums by demonstrating resilience against cyber threats through the implementation of CRO. This proactive approach can lead to substantial cost savings for healthcare organizations.

Minimizing Business Risks

By bolstering security measures and mitigating risks associated with ransomware attacks, hospitals can safeguard their operations and financial stability. The implementation of CRO not only prevents operational disruptions commonly seen in cybersecurity incidents but also reduces the financial risks of paying ransom demands. Additionally, it lowers the likelihood of facing legal repercussions due to compromised care quality or patient privacy breaches, providing a comprehensive approach to security.

Facilitating Compliance with CMS Requirements

Meeting CMS requirements for emergency preparedness is a critical aspect of hospital operations. While traditional plans may involve prolonged system downtime during emergencies, CRO enables healthcare organizations to swiftly access essential EHR data within minutes of a ransomware attack. This rapid response capability significantly reduces the risk posed by ransomware attacks and ensures compliance with regulatory standards.

Improving Disaster Recovery with Reduced RPO

Reducing the recovery point objective (RPO) is essential for business resilience in the event of disasters. CRO ensures that hospital environments remain only seconds behind Epic production, minimizing data loss and enabling swift recovery from system failures. This streamlined approach to disaster recovery enhances operational continuity and reduces the impact of downtime on patient care.



Why Choose Azure for Epic Cloud Read-Only?

Azure stands out as a top-performing and trustworthy cloud solution, boasting a global network of data centers ideal for hosting and backups. With a robust set of built-in security and management features, Azure offers a wide range of HIPAA-compliant services, surpassing other cloud providers in this aspect. Additionally, it tends to provide more cost-savings with enterprise licensing.

How long does it take to implement cloud read-only?

About 8 weeks.

How much does Cloud Read Only cost to run?

The cost is typically less than one full time IT employee. 

Do Epic licensing costs increase as a result of the CRO environment?

No. Rest assured, implementing CRO for Epic will not result in increased licensing costs from Epic.

Get Started with Ransomware Recovery for Epic on Azure

Schedule a free consultation to learn how Cloudticity can help you implement, manage, and secure the CRO ransomware solution for Epic today.

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