Maintaining protection of clinical data and patients’ personal information is the top priority for a health care provider with a focus on mobile devices, reports Greg Masters.

When the lives of patients are at stake, communication between a health care facility’s personnel must be dependable, accessible and secure. For cGate Health, an Austin, Texas-based medical software development company, the rapid evolution of mobile devices has brought both convenience and efficiency to its partners, but also challenges to protect the sensitive lab data and patient information entrusted to its care.

cGate Health provides software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based mobile and desktop solutions that enable the real-time ordering, results management and collaboration of clinical laboratory information for physicians, nurses and clinicians. Its software applications work across any platform and provide quick access to the critical lab data that represents more than 70 percent of a patient’s health record. As well, 80 percent of a doctor’s clinical decisions are derived from lab result data.

The company currently employ six full-time employees and that number is about to grow to 15 in the near term and is projected to rise upwards of 20 to 25 by year-end 2011, says Ryan Masten, cGate’s CTO and chief software architect.

His IT staff currently consists of four and is in the process of expanding to seven in the next few months. The team also engages with external developers and integration contractors on an as-needed basis.

The company provides a high performance, highly scalable, secured hosting infrastructure to support its customer base. But, as it finds itself in a growth spurt, cGate realized it needed a hosting partner that could grow with them. It was also looking to reduce costs in running its own data center. As the company’s top priority is securing the health records in its system, it began the search for a vendor that truly understood the health care security needs it currently had and might expect in the future. It started a search.

Masten, along with his IT team, reviewed several hosting platforms locally and in the cloud – including solutions from GoGrid, Rackspace, Zebec, MediaTemple, and many other online hosting providers. Ultimately, they selected a solution from FireHost.

“FireHost’s understanding of health-care related security threats, along with its state-of-the-art hosting facilities and network architecture, are significantly ahead of the competition,” says Masten. “FireHost has gone to great lengths to build a hosting infrastructure that can not only detect and react to security issues, but that also can prevent them.”

Several factors were figured into the selection – cost, features, support, deployment, knowledgeable staff and fast response. But, says Masten, most important was a secure infrastructure and an understanding of how mission critical and unique health care IT is and will continue to be looking forward.

FireHost is a secure cloud-hosting company that delivers web and application hosting to eCommerce, SaaS, health care IT and security companies. It is the only cloud-hosting solution available that is PCI 2.0 compliant, says Chris Drake, founder and CEO of FireHost.

The company specializes in protecting websites with compliance and high-traffic needs with the first PCI DSS 2.0-compliant cloud-hosting solution, he says. The company makes hacker awareness, management and prevention a standard part of every hosting plan while competitors make this an expensive upgrade, says Drake.

Deployment of the FireHost offering couldn’t have gone any better at cGate, says Masten. “We have yet to experience a single issue with our FireHost infrastructure. The FireHost IT team and customer service response is second to none and their proactive methodologies toward network security are a significant differentiator for cGate’s value proposition.

And, Masten is finding it easy to manage and operate. “Anything we’ve needed has been taken care of immediately and FireHost is continuing to expand on their offering, which continues to make cGate confident in our decision to select FireHost as our hosting provider,” he says.

FireHost has made it a focus to build an infrastructure that helps cGate maintain HIPAA compliance. “It goes above and beyond the minimum requirements defined by the federal regulations,” Masten says.

The FireHost platform is now the infrastructure for cGate’s entire product line.

And the solution will improve mobile security. “cGate’s product roadmap plan includes scaling to meet client transaction demands and delivering health records beyond the care provider all the way to the patient’s personal health record,” Masten says.

This includes mobile wireless technologies, as well as desktop solutions. cGate has built an instantly scalable architecture and FireHost plays a vital role in the facility’s ability to rapidly expand its market share securely and with high performance data transfer rates, says Masten.

But nothing stands still in the technology field. As the requirements of HIPAA and security vulnerabilities of newer cutting-edge technologies increase, cGate has to change with them. “It is important that we have a partner that can proactively help us address these new changes and threats before the need for disaster recovery,” says Masten. “This is paramount to cGates value proposition.”

cGate is no different than any other technology company that requires enterprise-level, high-performance network connectivity. “The digital frontier is and always will be filled with ongoing threats of attack,” Masten says. “As technology breakthroughs advance and become more sophisticated so will the threats and attacks regarding security.” Choose your allies carefully, he adds.

FireHost as a hosting provider also delivers extreme network performance, top-tier service level agreements, and the ability to rapidly scale, Masten says.

“FireHost’s numerous layers of web-hosting security protect the most highly targeted of websites that are considered trophies for hackers, and typically very easy targets in other cloud-hosting environments,” says Drake.