It goes without saying that COVID-19 is going to remain a factor in our lives for the foreseeable future. Due to the pandemic, our work, travel and personal lives have been altered almost overnight, and while many changes will be temporary, some will most likely be permanent.
While some changes are a little on the annoying side, wearing masks in the hot and humid Miami summer being one, there are also some positive ones, like many of my friends and acquaintances getting to experience the joys of working from home.
Change also creates opportunity and at databasable we have noticed a considerable uptick in health tech related projects as new businesses look to fill the gaps that have been created by our new way of life.
Many of the new clients are looking to analyze COVID-19 data directly or to create applications to facilitate analysis of testing data. To do so, users need a specialized environment that is secure, easy to use and capable of crunching large amounts of data.
AWS is the perfect place for such environments as it natively supports HIPAA compliance (as well as many other compliance protocols) and if you know what you are doing, you can create incredibly secure HIPAA compliant cloud environments relatively easily. And in case you were wondering, we here at databasable know what we are doing!
So what services are available in AWS to perform secure analysis of COVID-19 data? Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting ones:
AWS Transfer Family
Firstly, you need a secure way of getting your data into AWS and there is no better way than the AWS Transfer Family (formally AWS SFTP). The service provides Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), File Transfer Protocol over SSL (FTPS), and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and enables you to store data files in encrypted S3 buckets for processing and safe keeping.
Perhaps you need to manipulate the incoming data to fit your requirements. If so the fully managed AWS Glue service makes it simple to extract, transform, and load your data for analysis. The modified data can be returned to S3 or input directly into a database.
Gone are the days of having to put data into a database for analysis, Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. Basically, you can run SQL queries directly against the files sitting in your S3 buckets without ever having to load the data into a database.
Sometimes a database is required and when it is the Amazon RDS service is the perfect choice. Amazon RDS provides a managed database instance that is automatically backed up, offers point in time recovery, high availability via automatic failover to a standby instance and comes in many popular versions such as Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Postgres and MariaDB.
Perhaps you need to crunch numbers with something more powerful than SQL queries, if so Amazon SageMaker is a fully managed service that provides data scientists with the ability to build, train, and deploy machine learning (ML) models quickly. The service can be hooked up to S3 to easily pull data in for analysis.
You will almost certainly need a workspace to perform and orchestrate the analysis of your data. Amazon WorkSpaces is a secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution that allows you to provision either Windows or Linux desktops. The workspaces run in your AWS network so data never leaves the secure confines of your environment and ensures that your data and analysis remains perfectly safe.
databasable has worked on countless HIPAA AWS environments for this type of use case and has become an expert in this area. Please reach out to discuss your requirements and see how databasable can help.