Ramesh Lakshminarayan – Cloudmed
Spend 30 years working in professional baseball and you’ll see how the sport, its athletes and team executives have evolved through training methods, nutrition and the use of technology and advanced analytics. In fact, in the minds of many, information technology and availability of data has transformed the game.
A longtime fan of the game, Ramesh Lakshminarayan has seen how information has changed baseball, and he’s seen how it’s transformed businesses during his three decades working in IT.
Cloudmed, a revenue integrity services provider, helps the healthcare community get paid for the services they provide by combining advanced technology, using machine learning algorithms, with human expertise to deliver a smarter, more predictive way for clients to realize all potential revenue.
Lakshminarayan, Cloudmed’s CIO and chief information security officer, says migrating everything to the cloud has transformed the company and turned it into a modern, secure and innovative part of the data industry. The cloud migration is proving to be a home run for the Atlanta-based company.
“All of these changes help us internally but also help our customers, and that’s what is most important,” he adds.
The great migration
For a while, Cloudmed had most of its infrastructure running in a few data centers across the country. But since Lakshminarayan joined the company, it’s been moving to the cloud using Microsoft Azure.
To support growth, he says ramping up Cloudmed’s infrastructure quickly is important. He prefers Azure because it can aid in disaster recovery, security and scalability. The former two provide obvious benefits, and scalability is important because it allows developers to use virtual machines whenever necessary, he notes.
Unlike some changes an IT department makes behind the scenes, the cloud migration has shown tangible results. If a developer notices a slow system, for instance, the IT department can quickly add additional memory or CPU capabilities.
“Internally, our employees are very happy because they’ve seen a noticeable increase in performance, the platform is stable and it’s working great,” Lakshminarayan says.
Softchoice, a strategic technology partner for Cloudmed, manages the company’s Microsoft license agreement and helps Cloudmed to maximize its investments, says Jen Hartman, a Softchoice account executive.
Most recently, Softchoice accepted Cloudmed into its Azure Advanced Program to enhance the company’s ability to use Azure resources for continued growth and optimization.
“Ramesh has been a pivotal piece in the success of our partnership and a true pleasure to work with,” Hartman adds.
Security is a constant
Key to Cloudmed’s security plan are the timely and regular software updates, especially when Microsoft Azure offers patches to its services. Lakshminarayan and his team monitor the news for cybersecurity stories or trends, and there’s a focus on employee and user awareness and training.
“Why breaches keep happening in the world is that you can’t block everything,” he says. “There’s always a balance to strike between the user experience and security. Protecting the data is the highest priority.”
Lakshminarayan says the company has a zero-trust security model and a zero-tolerance policy for any incident, meaning any security incident is handled swiftly. Training employees on what to look for either in their emails or online keeps things secure internally; externally, there are strong vulnerability tests conducted quarterly by trained professionals to make sure every part of the environment is covered and secured.
These partners do tests regularly, provide feedback and data, and then the IT team makes the necessary corrections, he says.
The future is in the air
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early in 2020, Cloudmed already had a 50 percent remote workforce. Given the move to the cloud, it was easy to make most remaining in-person employees remote, Lakshminarayan notes.
Most everyone in the company is working remotely, so there’s a virtual private network in place for additional security, as well as security checks and increased cybersecurity awareness training. Overall, the remote work model has turned out well for Cloudmed and its employees.
“We’ve been holding virtual meetings, virtual town halls and virtual social events, and our priority is to keep our employees healthy and happy while focusing on customer needs,” he says.
Equipped with a degree in information systems from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India, Lakshminarayan spent more than 22 years as an IT executive for Cognizant, a digital products and services provider based in New Jersey, where he held multiple leadership roles across IT, security and M&A. Prior to the creation of Cloudmed in October 2020, he spent 16 months as the CISO for Revint Solutions.
While there aren’t immediate plans to return to the office, he says 30 years of experience taught him the ability to adapt can be the difference between a successful company and a failing one.
“In a way, it’s not unlike baseball. Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind you and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is,” Lakshminarayan says. “I strongly believe that the customer is the most important part of our business. Customer experience and satisfaction is most important to me because their success is our success.”
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