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Is the Cloud a Good Fit to Host Your Augmented Reality Project?

Adnan Raja February 16, 2018 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

When you hear ‘augmented reality,’ you might initially think about the first-down marker that overlays the field on any televised football game. The markers have become so ubiquitous that you almost forget the players can’t see them when they’re diving for the extra yardage.

If you’re under 25, ‘augmented reality’ might conjure memories of Pokemon Go instead.

But let’s take augmented reality beyond the realm of masses converging on shopping malls and college campuses in search of non-existent pocket monsters, beyond the overlays on a football field, beyond the technology giants like Apple and Google who are bringing augmented reality to our daily lives, and consider the niche players. Plenty of industries, like construction, have the vision to layer an augmented world on top of our own to give architects, engineers and customers a look at what could be before the job is built.

Augmented reality for the construction industry was best displayed at the DIRTT Connext 2016 convention, where a speaker wearing a head-mounted display (HMD) on a stage flabbergasted the audience by building first a room and then an entire office with augmented reality technology.  When the virtual office was built, he had audience members download an app on their smartphones that let them see the same augmented imagery through their cameras that he had just created on the stage.

The applications go well beyond the construction niche, however. Entertainment companies are finding ways to interlace augmented reality into video games. Companies that sell to the military have invented HMD capable of superimposing satellite imagery or drone footage into a soldier’s field of vision. That fancy facial recognition that Tony Stark’s Iron Man uses to target and neutralize sadistic terrorists without hitting any scared villagers is a lot closer than we think.

In more identifiable situations, clothing stores can layer shirts, skirts, pants and dresses over your picture to show how you’d look wearing an outfit you haven’t bought yet.  Furniture retailers can give you a great visual of how a couch, a chair or a table will look in your pre-existing living space.  Across the pond in the Netherlands, an app called Layar can use a phone’s GPS and camera to overlay information on area restaurants, and even identify available jobs inside a building.

The Technology of Augmented Reality

Integrating augmented reality into your business is challenging – the technology is developing and demanding. Not surprisingly, including augmented reality in your website, app, or another format involves lots of processing power, large doses of available bandwidth and high-level graphic functions.

The good news is that most smartphones and tablets contain the necessary software and sensors to accurately project augmented reality to the end-user. But that’s only for visual immersion. There are are also augmented reality environments that include noises, smells and haptic feedback (a fancy way to say “recreating the feeling of touch”).

There are two types of tracking at work in augmented reality: Markerless tracking and marker-based tracking.

Markerless tracking is the type that’s more like the way our own minds work. It involves computer systems using pattern or feature recognition technology to call up information about whatever your camera or other device is looking at. This involves enormous amounts of processing power and even bigger databases full of objects and images for the sensor to run against.

Marker-based tracking is exactly what it sounds like. Say you were looking at restaurants on a street hoping to make dinner plans. Savvy restaurant owners would have a scannable barcode at easy access as you walk by. When you scan the code with your device, you automatically get access to things like a menu, the present wait time, and customer reviews. This uses considerably less processing power as the device is being led to one specific block of information rather than sifting through millions of them.

Those technologies work well in some applications but are cost-prohibitive in others. The next wave of technology might be algorithmic facial tracking, which uses a deep-sending camera to track facial expressions.

Can Cloud Computing Contain Augmented Reality?

This past summer, Lenovo turned heads when it partnered with Wikitude to develop a cloud-based platform for the creation of augmented reality content.  The name? The Augmented Human Cloud, which will harness markerless tracking, deep learning recognition and image recognition to generate content.

Obviously, cloud offers a lot of what augmented reality needs most: the computing power to provide lots of graphics and heavy-duty processing without the massive hardware or the infrastructure costs that come with maintaining that sort of environment.

The flip side is that most cloud environments are built quite specifically to be the opposite of what the end-user of augmented reality clients need. That is, the cloud is independent of connected client devices, at least in terms of their display capabilities. Cloud environments are meant to be accessed only by secure channels, not as part of a convenient package for smartphones and tablets.

But if that inconvenience could be overcome, the merging of cloud computing environments and augmented realities could be almost limitless.

Why? For starters, a lot of what makes augmented reality so stimulating is its ability to function at real-time speed. Those kind of speeds are dangerous to try and achieve on even the most dedicate of private servers, but one based in the cloud can achieve those speeds whenever necessary with close to 100% certainty.

On that same topic, consider the immense slowdown in productivity at your office (assuming you’re not in the cloud already) when a software system has to update before it can go back to regular functionality.  All of that downtime and potential UX-killing trouble is out the window when you use cloud-based delivery.

The hiccup for now lies in the problems with slowdowns or latency issues on the end-user’s level.  Not only can it disrupt the experience, it can cause actual physical illness to the person using it due to motion sickness or other effects.

Conclusion

The merge of cloud computing and augmented reality is still in its infancy. However, as augmented reality becomes more and more a resource for companies seeking to distance themselves from the competition in terms of website and mobile content, advertising, branding and more, innovative cloud hosting firms will respond. The powerful processing, ability to store and parse big data, and instant software updates are all big points in favor of the cloud eventually hosting augmented reality. More companies will be taking Lenovo’s lead in the near future.


How to Choose the Best Cloud Hosting Platform for Your Analytics Software

Adnan Raja February 12, 2018 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

You could ask 50 different CEOs why they are moving their businesses to the cloud and get 50 different answers. But one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing so much migration to the cloud is because of the exponential growth in data being gathered, stored and analyzed across the economy as a whole.

Most businesses already have complex, dedicated analytic software in place well before they move to the cloud. This analytic software assists employees in making decisions on marketing, advertising, customer retention, supply chains, packing/shipping, warehouse management, delivery routes, human resources and more.

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Why Personal Injury Lawyers Need HIPAA Hosting

Kent Roberts February 1, 2018 by under HIPAA Compliant Hosting 0 Comments

Attorneys are very familiar with the notion of having to keep information private and abide by the law. Still, even experienced attorneys might not be familiar with all of the specific details of HIPAA compliance, which means following all the guidelines established in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Depending on the focus of a law firm, HIPAA compliance may only be an important concern in a small number of cases, since protected health information (PHI) is strictly defined. However, when PHI is involved, as is typically true of personal injury cases, staying compliant protects a firm’s finances and reputation.

Why do personal injury lawyers need HIPAA hosting?

Under HIPAA, lawyers who handle and store ePHI (electronic protected health information) are business associates under HIPAA, as they are responsible for protecting health data.

Lawyers as Business Associates Under HIPAA

Under HIPAA law, there are two primary organizational classifications for which the regulations are important: covered entities and business associates. While the former includes health insurance plans, healthcare providers, and health data clearinghouses, the latter contains a diverse array of companies that handle this sensitive information as a service, including hosting companies, shredding services, and attorneys.

Under the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule that came into effect because of the Health Information for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH), responsibility for protection of health data was more directly assigned to business associates.

A perfect example of the scope of the business associate is seen in the personal injury or accident attorney. An accident attorney certainly would not view herself as a healthcare professional; nonetheless, the federal law now requires that she meets certain standards, particularly in the ways that she protects the privacy and security of electronic health records (or, in HIPAA terms, electronic protected health information, aka ePHI).

Not every attorney is a HIPAA business associate. Any attorney could play that role, becoming one the moment she gives legal services to organizations that are not employing her. An attorney is also considered a business associate if she “works for an organized health care arrangement in which the covered entity participates,” noted attorney Jarrod A. Malone in The Indiana Lawyer.

Relationship Between Attorneys and ePHI

PHI or ePHI consists of information and materials such as health records, lab work, images, and insurance data. Attorneys that handle this type of information are across a broad range of areas, including eldercare law, medical malpractice, and personal injury. When a firm decides to take a client that has a case relying on medical records, they need to know that they will be held to the standards of a HIPAA business associate in relationship to that data.

The HIPAA stipulations, which are collectively intended to boost the number of people who have health insurance, focused on migration or transfer of data, tax ramifications, and changes to administration that were called “simplification” but were really about standardization to enhance both security and efficiency. With the 2013 effective date of the HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule, business associates were directly held to meet HIPAA compliance. Attorneys such as accident lawyers had to start learning about this legislation that must be followed by them and their subcontractors.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is one of the rules within HIPAA that is critical for covered entities and, by extension, their business associates. The Privacy Rule does not block the sharing of information with service providers (or business associates); instead, it is acceptable for the covered entity to share the data if the outside organization signs a business associate agreement (BAA). The BAA will state exactly how the data will be used; will provide proper security protections to keep unauthorized parties from accessing it; and will support the covered entity in maintaining its compliance to avoid violations from the HIPAA enforcer, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Law Firm Goes Astray With HIPAA

The HHS Department has received complaints related to attorneys. For instance, the OCR conducted an investigation of a pharmacy chain’s law firm that was believed to have passed on protected health data to another party improperly (i.e. without the consent of the applicable patient of the pharmacy chain), as discussed within the American Bar Association’s Law Technology Today.

Attorneys must be compliant with HIPAA rules. Plus, they have to be certain that their subcontractors are following the guidelines as well. Because of the need to be conscientious about subcontractors, an attorney should make sure that HIPAA compliance is maintained throughout her ecosystem, extending to such disparate partners as cloud hosting services and expert witnesses.

Three Categories of HIPAA Safeguards

Key HIPAA safeguards that must be met are the guidelines covered within Title II of the law, the Administrative Simplification provisions. As an effort that the US Department of Health and Human Services says was intended “[t]o improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system,” this part of HIPAA directed the HHS to create, develop, and enforce standards to allow for secure digital health environments that protected confidentiality. They also mandated unique health identifiers and code sets so that healthcare could be delivered more seamlessly.

The Privacy and Security Rules are core to Title II. Particularly important to the Security Rule are its three categories of mandated, standardized protections, as indicated by the HIPAA Security Rule Summary from the HHS. These rules are fundamental to a HIPAA hosting environment, whose engineers should have expertise on all ePHI requirements.

Administrative Safeguards for HIPAA Compliance

  • Security management – covered entities and business associates protecting ePHI have to find and study possible vulnerabilities to healthcare systems. Security mechanisms must be put into place to minimize any threats posed.
  • Security roles – To comply with HIPAA, it is necessary to have a person on your staff who is in charge of HIPAA security. This individul is the point-person for deployment and maintenance of security procedures and protocols.
  • Access management – The “minimum necessary” rule for disclosure of PHI is key to the Privacy Rule. Similarly, the Security Rule mandates role-based access, in which users only access data if they have a position with permissions to view it, on a need-to-know basis.
  • Employee management & training – Guidance and controlled authorization of your employees who handle healthcare data is necessary for HIPAA compliance as well. The key Security Rule parameters and protocols should be conveyed to these individuals. Plus, there should be a system of sanctions in place so that anyone who does not abide by the healthcare law is held accountable.
  • Assessment – In order to maintain HIPAA compliance, you should regularly and systematically review your security mechanisms and protocols.

Physical Safeguards for HIPAA Compliance

  • Controls of facility access – HIPAA compliance includes making sure that all people who are granted entry to physical locations of PHI/ePHI are authorized.
  • Device/workstation protections – Access and use of electronic files and workstations should be described within policies and procedures documents. The procedures that are followed when healthcare data is moved, deleted, destroyed, or reused should also be discussed within policy and procedure paperwork.

Technical Safeguards for HIPAA Compliance

  • Controls of access – There should be appropriate protocols and tools implemented to confirm that all users who access sensitive health data are authorized.
  • Controls of auditing – Steps should be taken with equipment and programs to log and analyze user access and behavior within areas holding ePHI.
  • Controls of integrity – To be HIPAA-compliant, you must be certain that any changes to or removal of electronic health records are properly conducted. Technologies should be deployed to verify that ePHI is not destroyed or changed.
  • Transmission protections – When ePHI is sent through an electronic network, HIPAA compliance requires security steps be taken to prevent malicious access.

HIPAA Hosting Plan for Lawyers

It should be clear from the above discussion that your accident law firm needs HIPAA hosting. At Atlantic.Net, our infrastructure is SSAE SOC 1 and SOC 2 (formerly SSAE 16) certified and HIPAA/HITECH audited. See our HIPAA compliant hosting solutions.


HIPAA Compliant Cloud Storage with Encryption at Rest

The best HIPAA-compliant cloud storage is within an infrastructure that encrypts all at-rest data across-the-board, avoiding the costs of data breaches by meeting standards and proving adherence through third-party certifications.

Settlements for the violation of healthcare privacy and security laws outlined within the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) were at an all-time high in 2016. A total of $22.9 million was submitted to the HIPAA enforcement agency, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the federal Health and Human Services Department (HHS). The largest settlement ever under the HIPAA law, $5.55 million, was announced in August. There were 6 fines in 2016 that were $2.14 million or more. This trend continued in the new year, with a $5.5 million fine, nearly reaching the record settlement, announced in February 2017.

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HIPAA Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss – Why You Need to Understand HIPAA

Adnan Raja January 22, 2018 by under HIPAA Compliant Hosting 0 Comments

Written by Orlee Berlove, Director of Marketing at OnPage

American law has the well-known doctrine that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Simply put, a person who is unaware of the law may not escape liability. For HIPAA, this means that even if a hospital is unaware of HIPAA’s requirements on a subject, the entity can still be liable for violating HIPAA statutes.

At the same time, lacking knowledge of HIPAA can cause practitioners as much hassle as ignorance could. Not knowing what HIPAA allows can lead to bizarre and painful demands as well of employees. For all involved, HIPAA ignorance is not bliss.

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Hybrid Hosting – One Size Does Not Fit All

Kent Roberts January 17, 2018 by under Managed Hosting 0 Comments

A hosting service provider may tend to focus more on standardized packages or on its ability to customize and provide highly specialized service on a case-by-case basis. When a provider is known for its central attention to customization and creating unique systems to meet the challenges of organizations one at a time, they will often have to find ways to problem-solve sophisticated technical issues of their clients.

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How Is the Cloud Enabling Artificial Intelligence?

Adnan Raja January 10, 2018 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

If you’re a science fiction fan like me, the term “artificial intelligence” recalls entities like HAL-9000, Skynet, the Cylons, and the fact that these creations have a bad habit of rising up against their creators and trying to kill us all.

While artificial intelligence (A.I.) has struggled to gain footholds in other niches, it is finding its place in the world of cloud computing, a sort of revolution within the revolution that could rapidly change the face of businesses using cloud computing solutions over the next few years.

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PCI Compliant Hosting Requirements: 12-Point Checklist

Kent Roberts January 1, 2018 by under PCI Hosting 0 Comments

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council develops standards that outline the proper protection of data in today’s security climate. These specifications form the basis of PCI compliant hosting requirements. Compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is necessary for merchants and other entities that process payment cards, transmit that data, or store it.

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