New health and care guidance on cloud computing

NHS Digital has published national guidance setting clear expectations for health and social care organisations who want to use cloud services or data off-shoring to store patient information.

The guidance, which was created in partnership with the Department of Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement, ensures that organisations know how to use these solutions safely and securely.

The standards will enable NHS organisations to benefit from the flexibility and cost savings associated with the use of cloud facilities.

The document too highlights the benefits for organisations choosing to use cloud facilities, including cost savings associated with not having to buy and maintain hardware and software, and comprehensive back-up and fast recovery of systems.

It gives a detailed explanation to help organisations comply with expected standards when choosing to adopt these technologies, and sets out the legalities and best practice as to how data should be stored and used.

Rob Shaw, deputy chief executive at NHS Digital, said: “It is for individual organisations to decide if they wish to use cloud and data offshoring but there are a huge range of benefits in doing so, such as greater data security protection and reduced running costs when implemented effectively.

"The guidance being published today will give greater clarity about how these technologies can be used and how data, including confidential patient information, can be securely managed.”

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