The HIPAA and HITECH compliancy regulations are increasingly having an effect on cloud and hosted services. As cloud computing catches on in all vertical markets, health care professionals are seeing the advantages of having their data and apps in the cloud, but if the average business has concerns over security, those concerns are multiplied tenfold in the health care sector. With that in mind, 8x8 is now supporting HIPAA and HITECH in its Virtual Office VoIP phone service.

With the scrutiny health care providers are put under when it comes to securing patient and customer data, it only makes sense for such organizations to look to providers that aim to work to provide regulation-compliant cloud solutions. 8x8 is just one vendor working to help its vertical customers comply with strict privacy legislations, and the company has been building out its cloud communications services to comply with FISMA, PCI-DSS and CPNI requirements.

"Security is one of the chief concerns IT professionals have when considering migrating to cloud-based services," said Mike McAlpen, senior director of security and compliance at 8x8, in a prepared statement. Although there isn't quite as much skepticism about cloud security today than there was three years ago (seems like a lifetime ago, no?), security continues to rank high on lists of concerns IT and business decision-makers have when it comes to the cloud.

For cloud services providers like 8x8 that target specific verticals like health care, it's critical to demonstrate the ability to make data and apps safe from the nogoodniks on the electron highway. With that expertise, it's a differentiator that could mean winning business, but without it, it's a potential setback.

MDS Medical, a Greenway PrimeSUITE electronic health record partner and a Virtual Office customer, confirmed the importance of security in cloud offerings.

"It is important to our business that 8x8 places security of customer data and adherence to national security standards as one of the most important attributes of its service," said William Schroeder, MDS Medical president and CEO, in a prepared statement.