best hipaa-compliant cloud services

5 Best HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

Cloud-based services have helped the healthcare sector navigate the challenges of data storage and document management. However, these services pose potential risks, raising concerns about the safety and privacy of protected health information (PHI). Thus, choosing a service that prioritizes security and compliance with HIPAA and other industry regulations is a must.

The Growing Need for HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

Over 82 million healthcare records have been exposed through security breaches in the first three quarters of 2023 alone. This is more than double compared to 2021, showing how healthcare records are a constant target for malicious attacks. In October 2023, one of the largest data breaches exposed over 10,000 patient records.

Victims of data breaches are at risk for identity theft, phishing emails, and other socially engineered cyberattacks. Patients also lose trust the moment they learn about the breach, leading them to question the organization’s integrity.

Given the relentless rise in healthcare data breaches, it’s high time for organizations to mitigate security risks proactively. One crucial step is choosing a cloud service that complies with HIPAA security and privacy guidelines.

This list features five of them to save you some time.

5 Best HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

1. Dropbox for Healthcare

Dropbox is an intuitive and straightforward cloud data storage solution that offers secure file transfer compliant with HIPAA regulations. You can use it to send large files and long videos and automatically back up photos on the cloud. It comes with free 2GB cloud storage, but you need the Business or Business Plus plan to enable HIPAA compliance. 

All plans enjoy minimum HIPAA requirements like 256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption, multi-factor authentication, password management, and version histories. However, you can only get a signed BAA with the Business plans. 

Beyond cloud storage, Dropbox lets you edit and annotate PDFs and Word documents. You can also request unlimited digital signatures, record, review, and edit videos, and enable document collaborations.

Key Features:

  • Easy and secure sharing
  • Access anytime, anywhere
  • Real-time document analytics
  • Data backup
  • Restore deleted files
  • Document scanning
  • Remote device wipe
  • Watermarking

Pricing: HIPAA-compliant Business plans start at $20 per user per month 

Best for: Straightforward file sharing and storage

5 Best HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

2. Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft is one of the most robust and comprehensive HIPAA-compliant cloud platforms. It offers not just a cloud data storage solution but a whole set of complementary solutions to help you deliver better healthcare experiences for your patients and team. 

You can enjoy collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, document editing tools like Microsoft 365, and powerful data analytics tools like Power BI. When it comes to OneDrive, you can use it seamlessly with Microsoft 365, which is a wise move if your team heavily relies on Microsoft Office products. 

Key Features:

  • Personal vault to store sensitive files
  • Comment notifications
  • Document scanning
  • Strong security features
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Custom domain

Pricing: Starts at $5 per month per user for 1 TB (must be paid annually)

Best for: Teams familiar with Microsoft products

5 Best HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

3. Google Workspace

If you’re looking for HIPAA-compliant cloud solutions, look no further than Google. You probably already use the service for your personal needs, so why not extend it to your business? That’s what Google Workspace does. It lets you enjoy the familiar user interface of Google products but with the added security features that enable HIPAA compliance. You can also request a BAA, provided you meet the requirements for requesting one.

See: How to make Google WorksSpace HIPAA compliant

The biggest advantage of Google Workspace is that everyone is already familiar with Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and other Google products, so user onboarding is easy. You can facilitate faster and more productive collaboration across various areas, such as patient care, research, and data administration.

Features:

  • Cloud-first, browser-based approach
  • Built-in controls
  • Zero-trust verification
  • Secure endpoints that work with company-provided or BYOD devices
  • File-syncing and advanced search

Pricing: Starts at $5.40 per user per month with an annual commitment

Best for: Businesses looking for powerful yet flexible cloud storage and team collaboration solutions

5 Best HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

4. Amazon AWS

Amazon AWS provides enterprise HIPAA compliance cloud services that can store full-resolution images and videos, making them ideal for keeping hi-res lab images, test results, etc. As one of the leading HIPAA-compliant file cloud providers, Amazon offers S3 (Simple Storage Service) compliant not just with HIPAA but also with PCI DSS, HITECH, and other industry regulations. 

You can also use its various healthcare innovations with different clinical systems, analytics, AI solutions, patient and clinician solutions, and medical research requirements. 

However, the complex interface and AWS infrastructure require a dedicated IT team, making this cloud service suited for larger enterprises.

Pricing: Pay-as-you-go 

Best for: Enterprises

5 Best HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

5. Box

Going back to simpler HIPAA-compliant cloud solutions, Box offers unlimited cloud storage that you can enjoy with comprehensive third-party app integrations. It works like Dropbox by giving you secure file storage, document sharing and collaboration, content management, digital signatures, and more. 

It also has free and scalable monthly plans, but for HIPAA compliance, you need the Enterprise plan. This is the only plan where Box will sign a BAA. 

Features:

  • Real-time collaboration with Box Canvas
  • AI tool to summarize documents and create content
  • Live online notes
  • Third-party app integration through Zapier
  • Unlimited file storage (starting with Business plan)

Price: Enterprise plan costs $47 per user per month (minimum of 3 users)

Best for: Large organizations

Key Features of HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

HIPAA sets the standards for protecting sensitive patient information, and any HIPAA-compliant service must possess the following key features:

  • Secure transmission of data using TLS / SSL
  • Encrypted data, when stored on servers
  • Robust authentication methods and role-based permission controls
  • Comprehensive audit trails of who accessed patient data and other system activities
  • Strong physical security measures
  • Signed BAAs to ensure solutions provider is accountable for protecting patient data

Safeguarding Healthcare Data With HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Services

Prioritizing HIPAA compliance when choosing a cloud service shows your commitment to protecting sensitive healthcare data and mitigating the risk of breaches. This not only helps in maintaining the trust of patients but also avoids potential legal and financial consequences associated with non-compliance. 

Kent Cañas

Kent is a content strategist currently specializing in HIPAA-compliant online fax. Her expertise in this field allows her to provide valuable insights to clients seeking a secure and efficient online fax solution.

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