Leveraging the cloud to keep your healthcare data healthy

Chad Hoerner, Key Account Manager

Testing for healthcare customers using Salesforce is an essential yet difficult task. Most sandboxes are provided without test data. Leaving two options, either manually populate data (data loader, scripts, or manual creation) or purchase additional full sandboxes to handle multiple testing scenarios. Poor test data or waiting to test in the last stage of development lifecycles can cause inaccurate test results, slow development, and deploy bugs into production. A proper sandbox seeding solution automatically produces high-quality test data to improve testing results and developer efficiencies. Currently, healthcare companies have been hesitant to adopt modern development and testing practices such as sandbox seeding due to the sensitivity of their data. This is problematic for the following reasons.

Data copy speed/quality

Using a manual method such as spreadsheets is very time-consuming, and with healthcare companies, sensitive data increases the time it takes to prepare tests. This is due to the additional fields that need to be masked. The consequences resulting from this additional time taken is also two-fold. First, because manually populating sandboxes is so time-consuming it causes a major lag in the development lifecycle. Second, after spending so much time manually populating the sandbox, the final result is low-quality test data. Weaker sandboxes can result in running a poor test and could produce long-term consequences like project delays or major rework for companies. 

Data security/masking

The second reason healthcare companies are having problems with their data copy is as a result of HIPAA. HIPAA compliance was a major barrier to cloud adoption in the healthcare industry as organizations struggled with the strict compliance regulations enforced by the government. HIPAA prevents any sensitive information from residing in a sandbox. This is because the sensitive information in healthcare is extremely valuable. Healthcare data consists of personal information for millions of people — including social security, medical records, and contact information. 

Furthermore, it is difficult to mask sensitive data correctly to meet HIPAA guidelines. As mentioned before, the standard process for most healthcare companies is to manually populate sandboxes with data, often resulting in weak data masking or keeping sensitive information unprotected. HIPAA violations can be extremely costly for healthcare companies. The penalties for noncompliance are based on the level of negligence, and can range from $100 to $50,000 per record with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year. Organizations try to avoid violations by masking data manually, though this is a tedious and extremely time-consuming process. 

Leveraging the cloud to keep your healthcare data healthy

While the healthcare industry has traditionally been hesitant to shift to a cloud-based data copy solution, there is a large advantage to combating these risks and making the transition. Cloud-based data copy solutions can revolutionize how hospitals and healthcare providers release new functionality into Salesforce. The proper solution optimizes the development process through increased speed and quality test data. 

Druva’s Salesforce solution is the fastest data copy application available. It utilizes advanced levels of PK chunking and parallelisms to increase reading and writing speeds. Additionally, Druva allows healthcare companies to be more efficient with their sandbox seeding, our template based model creates reusable and shareable templates to migrate data between any Salesforce environments. This self-service model eliminates the time waiting for another team member to create and populate a sandbox. Features like automatically disables and re-enables triggers, workflows, required fields, validation rules, and more, help to minimize errors and increase speed during the data copy. Salesforce sandboxes and the seeding of these sandboxes are complicated but are valuable in an organization’s development lifecycle. Druva discussed the intricacies of these sandboxes in a recent blog, and we invite you to read more to explore their many use cases.

With sensitive information such as patient records, medical history, or personal information, using production data in your sandboxes for testing is a big risk. One of Druva’s unique benefits is a data masking feature that can scramble any fields while maintaining the original format (i.e. XXX-XX-XXXX for SSN). This feature comes standard with Druva Sandbox Seeding. It can be used on any field on any object. Users can create global data masks as well. This a one-time setup that will run for every data copy. Druva provides four different masking techniques to first off anonymize the data but secondly, make it useful for testing. 

Next steps

As more and more healthcare organizations make the leap from traditional IT infrastructure to cloud-based solutions, the need for strong, cloud-native data protection is increasing. Druva offers a proven and cost-effective solution that benefits these organizations by enabling reliable, automated daily backups of data and metadata, combined with quick and easy recovery from secure air-gapped storage to prevent data loss. Read the Druva for Salesforce solution brief to learn more about our leading data protection solution and its capabilities.