Microsoft’s latest cloud based service called Office 365 was recently released. More than 200,000 organizations participated in the beta testing period. Office 365 provides the following:
Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service, at a predictable monthly subscription.
In addition, Microsoft is trying to target the healthcare industry by offering Business Associate Agreements (BAA). Microsoft is one of the first large organizations to offer a HIPAA BAA for their cloud based service.
Due to the requirements of HIPAA, the Health & Life Sciences industry requires privacy, security, and confidentiality of patient data (“protected health information”). With this in mind, Microsoft will be among the first in industry to offer a Business Associate Agreements (BAA) as an operationalized part of its solution to address requirements associated with hosting protected health information. Customers can obtain more information on BAA availability from their designated Microsoft account manager.
By offering a BAA it will make it easier for healthcare organizations to utilize the Office 365 cloud service. On the other hand, companies such as Google have not offered a BAA for their cloud based services. Microsoft has made a wise choice of offering the BAA and will make it easier for organizations to implement Office 365 and stay compliant with HIPAA regulations.
Let’s hope more cloud based services step up and offer Business Associate Agreements to customers.