RSNA: Personal cloud servers offer a low-cost, secure option

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CHICAGO--Commercial cloud computing data sharing such as Evernote and Dropbox are used every day by the general public and offer all the advantages of mobile data retrieval, but they are not appropriate for radiologists to share medical information with one another. One alternative could be the creation of a personal cloud that is maintained by the department that uses it, according to a poster presentation at the 97th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Norio Nakata, MD, of Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, and colleagues built a personal cloud system that could be monitored more closely and avoid the security risks of turning over sensitive information to a commercial cloud storage site.

“The benefit [of the commercial cloud] is widely advertised, but we have to learn about the risks of cloud computing,” said Nakata, adding that another issue with storing information with cloud vendors is the difficulty of removing data from their servers.

Nakata and colleagues constructed an original mobile personal cloud server using Mac OS X. They used an open-source platform available for the PC, iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone and created applications for radiologists such as web-sharing and blog software that is linked with a local mobile PACS server.

Using their system, Nakata and colleagues were able to share files, including DICOM images, with authenticated users through a web browser on a PC or smartphone. Since the server is completely private, Nakata and his team retained total control over the information that was stored on it.

Nakata and colleagues concluded that a personal cloud server could be a low-cost alternative to larger commercial clouds and provide extra security when managing personal medical information.