NHS Digital releases cloud services and data offshoring guidance

"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,” said Rob Shaw, NHS Digital Deputy Chief Executive.

[London, UK] NHS Digital has published guidance for health and care organisations that want to use cloud services or data offshoring for storage of patient information.

As the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to come into force on May 25 this year, the guidance, developed by NHS Digital, NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Department of Health, aims to ensure organisations are using cloud and data offshoring services ‘safely and securely’.

NHS Digital Deputy Chief Executive Rob Shaw 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."

NHS Digital says the document will help health and care organisations understand the benefits usually associated with the use of cloud services, including cost savings or faster recovery of systems, which reduces the risk of not being able to access information due to hardware failure. 

However, the guidance clarifies that data has to be hosted within the UK, the European Economic Area, countries that are ‘deemed adequated’ by the European Union and the US if covered by the Privacy Shield.

The guidance can be accessed here.

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