NHS says patient data can be stored in the cloud

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The NHS has approved a move to store the data of UK patients on clouds with servers being outside the country.

According to the guidance from the UK's National Health Service, data can now reside in "countries that provide an adequate level of protection for personal data". This is being defined as "within the UK, the European Economic Area, in countries deemed adequate by the EU, or in the US where it is covered by the Privacy Shield".

The guidance was developed with the Department of Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement.

According to Rob Shaw, deputy chief executive at NHS Digital, the goal is to encourage individual organisations to use cloud because it's cheaper and more secure.

"It is for individual organisations to decide if they wish to use cloud and data offshoring but there are a huge range of benefits in doing so, such as greater data security protection and reduced running costs when implemented effectively," Shaw said.

"Use of the cloud increases the portability of data, meaning data can be distributed across multiple devices both within and without the boundary of your organisation. The right cultural understanding and behaviours need to be in place to manage this portability appropriately and mitigate any risks," the document added.

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