Five Ways Your PAC System Is Killing Your Productivity

PAC Systems are intended to make your practice more efficient, but choosing the wrong vendor could end up negating the efficiency that PACS technology was supposed to provide. The following are some of the ways that your PAC system could harm your productivity:

Segregated Reports

Is your PAC system still using a non-integrated report mechanism? As long as your PAC system is stuck on a report mechanism that keeps images and reporting tools separate, you will continue to spend valuable time sorting and searching for patients’ medical records. This not only impedes the level of care and attention you are able to give your patients, but there is also the potential for misappropriation of sensitive medical data. Save yourself time—and liability—by employing a PACS that offers integrated reporting as part of its package.

Single Machine Use

Are you only able to access and transmit medical information from a single, onsite machine? The promise of a PAC System to grant you easier access to medical data is limited if that information can only be sourced from a single, onsite machine.

Single Server Use

Is your PACS data stored on a single server that can only be accessed from one location? If your PACS data is housed on a single server, your ability to source and transmit medical information is directly related to your proximity to that server, which is a detriment to productivity. In recent years, there has been a significant departure from traditional onsite server use to cloud-based storage for PAC systems. With the cloud model, you will be able to access and transmit medical data securely from practically anywhere and potentially with any device, including tablets and smartphones.

Lack of Vendor Neutral Archiving Capability

Is your PAC system able to interpret medical information from other systems? Your productivity could be obstructed if your PAC system is only able to decipher images and reports that are compatible with its system. Your inability to translate a medical report from a different PAC system directly affects how well you are able to dispense medical attention because it slows down vital external communications with other specialists.

Limited Data Storage Options

Are you limited by how much data can be stored on your PAC system? With the numerous options for unlimited storage, your PAC system should not be restricted in its storage capacity. Employ a PACS vendor that uses cloud-based storage, which is virtually limitless, to ensure that you are not spending valuable time and resources in maintaining the appropriate storage bandwidth for your practice.

Your PAC system should help you create a culture of optimal service and high efficiency at your practice, not hinder your productivity. Use this knowledge to ensure that you are implementing the right PAC system for your practice.

Where PAC Systems Are Headed in the Next Five Years

PAC systems allow for the storage and convenient access to images from multiple sources. Moreover, because PAC systems transmit information digitally, items such as manual storage, file retrieval, and the physical delivery of medical files are now virtually extinct. Even with these advances, PAC systems continue to improve as new technologies emerge. Here are a few ways in which PAC systems are expected to change in the next five years:

Anywhere, Anytime Access

Although medical imaging has come a long way from film jackets and other physical copies of information, there is still room for improvement in how PAC systems make information accessible to physicians and patients. Combined with available and emerging web technology, PAC systems are expected to further enhance anywhere-and-anytime access through information sharing using cloud storage. The move from onsite storage to cloud-based storage will allow physicians access to medical records from virtually anywhere—at home, at work, and from smartphones and tablets. This eliminates the physical and time barriers associated with being tethered to a single onsite storage medium. Users will be able to access medical data at any time and from anywhere that has Internet availability.

Cloud Storage

Most PAC systems use onsite storage on a single server to store information. Recently, however, there has been a departure from this traditional storage method to cloud-based storage, which houses data virtually and permits access to the data via the Internet. As this new method of storage continues to gain popularity, PAC vendors are expected to move from on-premise, single access storage systems to the cloud model. Moreover, because cloud storage is easily scalable, storage will expand to cope with increased use, making data storage practically unlimited.

New Compliance Capabilities

The security of stored data and data in transit has always been a concern when handling sensitive information on the cloud. As a result, PAC system security and compliance capabilities are consistently evolving to inhibit unauthorized access, use, error, or information loss. PAC system vendors continue to fine tune the technology to ensure that patient confidentiality is respected at all times. As PACS technology gradually develops over the next few years, physicians, technicians, and administrators can expect to observe stricter adherence to the privacy safeguards presented in the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Moreover, data loss will become a thing of the past because information will not be limited to a single server that is susceptible to crashes and other unexpected malfunctions.

Integrated Reporting

The future of PACS technology also includes integrated reporting. With the functionality built in to notate and make edits, physicians and other health administrators can ensure that they are responsibly linking information to correct patient records. Integrated reporting will also eliminate misappropriation of sensitive medical information and enhance the level of care that physicians are able to afford their patients, particularly in diagnosing disease.

Vendor Neutral Archiving

Vendor neutral archiving is steadily establishing itself as part of the medical imaging technology mainstream. With vendor neutral archiving, physicians and other medical administrators will not be limited to viewing only those images and documents that are compatible with their system. Instead, all information of any clinical relevance will be stored and readily available in a standard format with a standard interface that can be interpreted by any medical imaging system available.

Even though PAC system technology is light years ahead of film jackets and paper folders, much of its potential is still being developed. However, this is good news, because as PACS technology continues to grow, so will the quality of medical services.

Nine Capabilities Your PAC System Should Have

Outfitting your practice with a PAC system can be a significant investment. As such, its benefits should bring a tremendous amount of value to your practice. To help you source the right vendor for your office, we have compiled a list of nine capabilities your PAC system should have.

1. Integrated Image Review and Reporting

In the past, reports and their respective images were kept separate, but as PACS technology has evolved, report integration has become more important. Integrated image review and reporting means that your PAC system is not in danger of misappropriating sensitive medical information. It also increases efficiency because study data can be populated directly into the report.

2. Seamless Network Integration

To have a truly central repository for all documents with any clinical relevance, you want your PAC system to be able to access any image from any system or network. Additionally, you want a PAC system that can be implemented easily and with minimal disruption to the current pace of your practice.

3. Multi-modality

Your PAC system should have the capability to conveniently access and store images from multiple modalities, such as digital x-ray’s, tomographic images, magnetic resonance images (MRIs), and so forth. This will eliminate the need for other image storage media and minimize the time spent searching and organizing patient records suitably.

4. Anywhere, Anytime Access

Your PAC system should offer capabilities for off-site viewing and reporting. It should also enable colleagues and other specialists in different physical locations to simultaneously access the same patient data in a timely manner.

5. Editing Tools

PACS technology offers the ability to notate images, highlight text, and perform any number of editing functions within patient records. Ensure that your intended PACS vendor offers this capability as part of its package to further streamline and improve your workflow and productivity.

6. HIPAA Compliance Capabilities

Respecting patient confidentiality is of the utmost importance. Consequently, your PAC system must adhere strictly to the prescribed privacy safeguards of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Your system should provide password-protected access to encrypted data, and only those with the proper authority should be able to access PACS data via the Internet.

7. Secure Web Delivery

When investing in a new cloud-based PAC system, ensure that your provider has appropriate security measures in place, especially in cases where a private cloud is not part of the package. You should be able to track and record data for auditing purposes. Additionally, data that is in transit must be encrypted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and web connections should use https: protocols to inhibit the activity of hackers.

8. Historic Comparisons

Most traditional PAC systems do not offer simple historic comparisons of patient information. However, to ensure that you are providing the best, individualized care and attention to your patients, it is imperative that your PAC system have the capability to house all past and present medical data for each patient in one electronic portfolio. Past conditions may sometimes dictate the best plan of action for a patient’s current complaint. As a result, historic comparisons are vital for accurate diagnoses.

9. Customization

You PAC system should be fully customizable to fit your needs. Your intended PACS vendor should offer custom interface development services to meet your unique specifications. Just as all patients must be treated individually, your PAC system should not be a one-size-fits-all mechanism.

Eight Things You Can Stop Worrying About With a Cloud PAC System

As web technology has evolved, the storage and sharing capabilities of cloud-based PAC Systems have made the management of privileged medical information more convenient and economical while remaining secure and compliant.

Below are a few things you’ll never have to worry about if you switch to a cloud-based PAC system:

1. You don’t have to worry about accessing patient data only at the office

With cloud-based data storage, you can access information anywhere and at anytime. Cloud storage eliminates the physical and time barriers associated with being tethered to a single onsite storage medium.

2. You don’t have to worry about on-site server maintenance

With cloud-based data storage, you won’t have to spend valuable time and resources maintaining cumbersome equipment or having a technical support unit on retainer.

3. You don’t have to worry about being locked into a single system or server

The ubiquitous and convenient nature of cloud-based PAC systems means that you won’t be restricted to a single system or server. Internal team members and external colleagues and specialists will be able to easily access the same data simultaneously, eliminating any wait time and increasing expediency in communications.

4. You don’t have to worry about upfront payments

Setting up an on-site system for all your PACS needs could mean substantial upfront costs. But with cloud-based PACS, those costs can be avoided. Most cloud-based PACS vendors offer a range of payment options, including monthly payments, per study payments, and one-time fees. Based on how the system will be used in your office, you have the option of choosing which payment option is most suitable for you.

5. You don’t have to worry about problems when sharing files with reading physicians and collaborators

Cloud-based PAC systems make information sharing easy and expeditious. From the cloud and with the appropriate access rights, you can share and receive files from multiple modalities, in any format, and from any interface.

6. You don’t have to worry about disaster recovery plans and maintenance

Because the cloud model makes your PACS data accessible from anywhere and at any time, you won’t have to worry about creating and implementing a control for disaster recovery and maintenance. If you’re unable to access data on one device or browser, it is an easy fix to simply switch to another device or browser.

7. You don’t have to worry about installing physical software

A cloud-based PAC system does not require physical installation of the software. Implementing an office-wide system switch is as easy as opening a web browser and typing in the location of your cloud storage.

8. You don’t have to worry about ensuring the security of your PAC system

Your PACS vendor is responsible for ensuring that all data that is being transmitted and used over the web is encrypted and protected appropriately even if you are using a shared network. Because you no longer have to worry about the security of your PACS and the safety of the information stored therein, you can devote even more of your time to providing the best, comprehensive medical care available.

June PACS News Digest

Picture archiving and communication system (PACS) technology is continually evolving. It adjusts to changes in standards, advancements in technology, facilities’ requirements, and healthcare regulations. It’s important to stay informed about the changes in healthcare that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of PAC Systems. Here are some recent news articles on PACS systems, imaging, and industry regulations.

Defeat of CA Imaging Legislation

California Senate Bill 1215 (SB1215), which sought to eliminate in-office exceptions for advanced modality imaging (including PET, CT, and MRI) from the state’s self-referral regulations, was defeated. Opponents of this legislation, including the ACC, the California Medical Association, and numerous medical groups, claimed that the bill would limit access to life-saving cardiovascular services as well as raise the cost to Medicare and patients.

Benefits of Remote Monitoring with ICD Patients

A study presented at Heart Rhythm 2014 demonstrates that remote monitoring provides improved outcomes for patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). The study reviewed over 22,000 first-time patients with ICDs who used remote monitoring. The findings showed that the patients who used remote monitoring had significantly lower risks of death and re-hospitalization. This supports the increased use of remote monitoring technology to improve patient outcomes.

ACR Lung Cancer Screening Designation

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has launched the ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center Program designation. This designation ensures that providers meet specific requirements for equipment, personnel, and imaging protocols. Program applicants must have active ACR CT accreditation in the chest module, and once the designation is received, the providers must use a follow-up system for structured reporting, managing recommendations, and referring patients.

Radiology Practice Model Outlook

A recent report by the Journal of the American College of Radiology shows that 41-51% of radiologists work in private practice. Although the private practice model still has the most popularity, interest has declined over the last ten years. The newest practice model, known as corporate radiology, is growing in response to the need for 24/7/365 radiology services via teleradiology. Hospitals account for 10% of radiologist employment, and that number is predicted to grow because the corporate radiology model is better positioned for bundled payments than the private practice model.

3D Printing of Medical Images

3D printing is increasingly common in medical applications. Radiologists and surgeons can make 3D datasets of 2D images. These 3D models are used for planning treatments, aiding diagnosis, and educating patients. A small study showed that the 3D images aided radiologists and physicians in reading CT data.

ICD-10 Deadline Extension

On March 31, Congress approved a bill to delay the implementation of ICD-10 until October 1, 2015. This is the second delay for the ICD-10 provision, which is a new diagnostic coding system that will drastically change medical billing systems. Once implemented, ICD-10 will result in a more time-consuming reimbursement process. Industry leaders are urging healthcare professionals to use the extra time to prepare for the changes.

Three Considerations when Switching PAC Systems

Thinking about switching to AccessPoint PAC system? If so, you’re probably wondering what to expect as you make the transition. Here are the three main concerns and questions clients face when making the switch with answers to ensure a smooth and successful implementation using AccessPoint.

Archives: What will happen to my patient data, images, and medical records? Will I lose information when transferring archived data into the new system?

Over 90 percent of PAC systems store images in DICOM format. If your current system uses the DICOM format, there’s no need to worry about lost data or difficulty accessing archived files and images. You can transfer your existing archives into AccessPoint with absolutely no trouble.

Reports: How will my reports change? Can I transfer old reports into the new system?

AccessPoint has its own system of customized reports, so some adjustments are necessary if you’re transferring existing reports as-is. However, Access Point’s reporting system is one of its most highly praised features—in fact, many clients choose to abandon their old reporting methods to take advantage of the customizable fields and features offered by AccessPoint. If you have specific questions or issues related to your transition, be sure to consult with our team of specialists—they’re available to help you convert your old reports if needed. The dynamic nature of our reports helps our clients adapt easily and quickly to the new format.

3. Workflows: Will adopting a new PACS mean changes to our workflows? How much will our current processes change?

Adopting a new PAC system will probably change your daily tasks to some degree. AccessPoint is a sequential system, and it requires actions to be completed in steps, which clients have found improves existing workflows. You’ll have lots of flexibility in how you choose to use the system, and our specialists are trained to help you adjust to the changes in your specific workflows and processes.

Customized Training and Support

As with any new technology, taking advantage of training and technical support will help you better utilize all the features of the new system. To ensure the smoothest transition possible, customized training is included with every purchase of AccessPoint. Our specialists will work with you to assess your needs and specific setup requirements before the implementation process even begins. We’ll make sure you have everything you need to facilitate a seamless conversion process. Although the transition may require some basic changes, it will save you time and money in the long run.

Traditional PACS vs. Cloud PACS – 8 Key Differences

How it Works

  • Traditional PACS
    A traditional PAC system uses local storage solutions to store patient digital images and related data. In the local storage model, the server connects directly to an array of hard drives that provide quick access to patient files.
    These files are saved directly to the server as they are created.
  • Cloud PACS
    A cloud-based storage solution uses an offsite, online method to store patient digital images and related data. Patient files are automatically streamed into the cloud as they are being created. Authorized users can access the data anytime, anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection.


  • Traditional PACS
    In the traditional model, the hospital or facility houses the server and all related hardware and software onsite. They have complete control and ownership over the infrastructure. This is convenient, but it also means that the facility has the full responsibility to operate and maintain the PACS. The facility must also ensure that the server has sufficient capacity for an increasing number of files.
  • Cloud PACS
    The cloud model uses virtual storage to house data. A cloud vendor, who is often the PAC system vendor, maintains all of the hardware and software at an offsite location. The client can then access the data via the internet.
    Cloud storage is easily scalable. The use of dynamic provisioning allows the cloud to grow with the organization.


  • Traditional PACS
    Physicians, technicians, and administrators access a traditional PACS by logging into the server. To access the PACS, the computer or work station must have the PACS software and access to the server. Sometimes there are limited workstations dedicated to the PAC system. Although this can help increase security, it limits where data can be accessed.
  • Cloud PACS
    Physicians, technicians, and administrators access a cloud-based PACS by logging into a secure PACS application over the Internet. Anyone with proper access rights can access PACS data from anywhere with an Internet connection. This enables physicians to work remotely and allows for the quick and easy transfer of patient data during referrals.

Disaster Recovery

  • Traditional PACS
    There are several back-up options for traditional PAC systems; however, they require significant management and expense. One option is to back up patient files on various offline media, such as tapes, DVDs, hard drives, or other removable devices, and then send the media to an offsite storage location. This results in a lot of work effort and the potential for longer downtimes. Another option is to use an Application Service Provider (ASP) for onsite storage. This transfers some of the responsibility to the ASP and spreads out the cost over time.
  • Cloud PACS
    Virtualization provides automated disaster recovery at no additional cost. Files are automatically stored on the cloud as they are created. This automated process increases standardization, which results in more reliable and repeatable disaster recovery processes. The entire hosted cloud, including the servers, software, network configuration, and security, are replicated to an offsite disaster recovery cloud. In addition, the cloud recovery solution provides the ability to rapidly restore systems, databases, and applications, which reduces recovery time after a disaster.


  • Traditional PACS
    Traditional PAC systems tend to have higher initial costs. The hospital or facility must incur the initial hardware and software costs. They are responsible for implementation and maintenance of the entire storage infrastructure. This means they must pay for IT staff to maintain the server and storage costs, any equipment upgrades, and increases in storage. However, after the high initial cost, the average monthly costs tend to be lower.
  • Cloud PACS
    Cloud storage technologies can save clients a considerable amount of money on both capital and operating expenditures. It enables the client to consolidate multi-vendor storage resources into one single pool of storage, which saves in storage costs. Maintenance and repair costs are significantly lower because most of the hardware and software is managed by the vendor. In addition, cloud PAC systems often offer a variety of payment options, such as pay-as-you-go.


  • Traditional PACS
    In the traditional PACS model, the facility is responsible for implementing and managing the security of all the files, images, and information. This includes ensuring that all security measures meet or exceed HIPAA requirements. Facility staff must provide proper user access rights and ensure that all data is securely encrypted.
  • Cloud PACS
    It is important to ensure that the cloud provider has appropriate security measures, especially if you are not using a private cloud. The client should carefully review the SLAs and consider requesting a security audit. All data in transit must be encrypted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and all web connections must be encrypted using https: protocols.


  • Traditional PACS
    • Offline access
    • Total ownership and control
  • Cloud PACS
    • Improved collaboration process
    • Image sharing in real-time
    • Anytime, anywhere access
    • Built-in disaster recovery


  • Traditional PACS
    Operation is dependent on maintaining storage volume and ensuring data redundancy.
  • Cloud PACS
    Accessibility is dependent on the Internet bandwidth and the volume of images.

April PACS News Digest

PACS technology is continually evolving. It adjusts to changes in standards, advancements in technology, facilities’ requirements, and healthcare regulations. It’s important to stay informed about the changes in healthcare that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of PACS systems. Here are some recent news articles on PACS systems, imaging, and industry regulations.

Variation in Use of Noninvasive Cardiac Imaging

According to a recent article published in JAMA Internal Medicine, there is not a standard guideline that clinics and hospitals use to determine which testing strategies should be applied to patients with suspected ischemia. The study found that more frequent use of noninvasive cardio imaging was associated with higher admission rates and the higher use of subsequent invasive tests without evidence of a substantial benefit to treatment and short-term outcomes.

New Policy Statement on CV Imaging

A new health policy statement on the use of noninvasive cardiovascular imaging was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The statement is based on an examination of the patterns and drivers of imaging use and the relationship between quality care, patient health outcomes, and medical costs.

Updated Recommendations on Cardiac Imaging Radiation Exposure

New recommendations on radiation exposure from cardiac imaging procedures call for more disclosure between providers and patients about the benefits and risks.

Reduced Dose Rates in Angiogram Platforms

Trends show that the use of radiation for medical imaging continues to increase. New research and technology aims to reduce dose rates for patients and staff. The development of real-time imaging reconstruction algorithms and technical improvements in equipment can reduce the dose without degrading image quality.

Basic Steps to Help Comply with HIPAA Regulations

Privacy compliance is an important issue for radiology groups right now. The Omnibus Rule provides over 500 pages of security related regulations and best practices. The main concern is not the images, but rather the reports and the diagnostic information therein. However, there are some basic steps that can help your practice be compliant, such as encrypting laptops, restricting access rights, and educating employees about the consequences of misusing patient data.

Workgroup Discussions on Patient-Generated Health Data

The Consumer Technology Workgroup provided an updated report to the Health IT Standards Committee on the HIPAA and HITECH legislation enacted to protect patient privacy in light of the growing use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The Workgroup looked to create clear standards for provider-requested and electronically-submitted patient responses.

2014 Tax Considerations When Purchasing a PACS

Purchasing a PACS system is a big investment. You want to make sure that you purchase a system that will work with your practice for a long time to come. One of the decisions you have to make is whether you want to purchase the PACS outright, lease it, or chose one of many payment options, such as the fee per study option. How you choose to pay for your PACS will impact your yearly taxes.

There are two basic tax classifications for the purchase of a PACS: capital asset or operational expense. If you classify your PACS as a capital asset, then the PACS is purchased outright with the cost being amortized over time and treated as a write off. This method is ideal if you have a set amount of cash on-hand and want to lower your total cost over time. When a PACS is classified as an operational expense, the cost of the system will be paid out of monthly expenses. Any time you purchase cloud-based services, you will classify that as an operational expense.

Capital Asset

If you purchase your PACS outright, you can deduct the cost under Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code. Section 179 allows businesses to deduct the total cost of equipment and software purchased for business use at once, rather than depreciating the cost of the purchase over several years. This essentially allows customers to accelerate depreciation of the equipment and the related tax savings. In past years, Section 179 was a major buying incentive for consumers. Last year, customers who purchased $2 million or less of equipment or software could deduct up to $500,000 on their taxes. The benefit for purchases over $2 million decreased on a dollar to dollar deduction scale. In addition, a depreciation bonus allowed for the immediate depreciation of 50% of the cost of new equipment beyond the $500,000 limit.

However, in 2014, the deduction cap was lowered from $500,000 to $25,000 for purchasing $200,000 or less, and the bonus depreciation expired. This means that, depending on the cost of your PACS, there may not be as high of a tax incentive to buy outright.

Operational Expense

When customers lease equipment or software, or pay for software as a service (SaaS) the total amount of yearly expenses can be deducted as an operational expense. The cloud-based options fall under this classification. Although it may cost you more over the long term, leasing or paying for software as a service may have an increased tax benefit in 2014 and save you more money in the short term. And, since SaaS doesn’t depreciate, you can recognize these tax deductions every year.


Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s best to talk to your accountant to see which option is the best fit for your practice. Knowing which option will save you more in taxes may impact your budget and purchasing decisions. 

PAC Systems and Disaster Recovery

Patient care does not stop when a disaster affects data availability. Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and electronic health records (EHRs) are a vital component of healthcare informatics. Readily available image data and health records are critical to a facility’s operation. Their protection is also a regulated requirement. This is even more important as more hospitals and clinics share data. 

Traditionally, disaster recovery solutions were a tedious and expensive undertaking. One option was manually backing up information to tapes and sending them offsite. This resulted in a lot of work effort and the potential for longer downtimes. Another traditional option has been to replicate data at an offsite data center. Although this method provides for a more automated process and quicker recovery, it requires a significant investment. Storage equipment must be purchased in large volumes to keep up with the growing PACS and EHR records, and equipment lifecycles must be maintained. In addition, space at a remote data center can be expensive. There is also the concern that the remote data center may be affected by the same disaster. 

Secure cloud disaster recovery and archiving solutions, which are now available with many PACS and EHR systems, make disaster recovery an easier solution for administrators. Information is backed up with every keystroke, so you can ensure that your data is available without manually maintaining your back-up architecture. Cloud disaster recovery solutions have a number of benefits over the traditional model. 

Low Cost of Ownership: Initial costs of cloud disaster recovery tend to be lower because there is no need to make a large investment on equipment, data center space, and expanding tier 1 storage. Instead, cloud services allow you to pay-as-you-go. Cloud storage is easily scalable, so it grows with your organization. In addition, it frees up your organization’s IT staff for other tasks because service providers often offer 24-hour service and support. 

Automated DR: Virtualization provides automated recovery, reducing the risk of errors in a manual recovery process. Automating disaster recovery through virtualization increases standardization, which results in more reliable and repeatable recovery procedures. It is a more dependable solution than a traditional DR model because the entire hosted cloud, including servers, software, network configuration, and security, are replicated to an offsite disaster recovery cloud.

Rapid Recovery: Another cloud disaster recovery solution benefit is the ability to rapidly restore systems, databases, and applications, reducing recovery times after a disaster.

Security: Disaster recovery solutions are available with secure SSL data encryption and HIPAA-compliant security levels.

Of course different cloud-service PACS and EHR service providers have their own service offerings, and it’s important to choose a vendor that is right for your organization. Make sure that the vendor will sign a business-associate agreement for HIPAA compliance, and ensure that the vendor provides necessary data encryption and security levels. Then, look at how the data is stored, how quickly data can be accessed and retrieved, and how often data is duplicated. The more highly available your data is, the more it will cost, so look for a service level agreement suitable for your organization.