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Security & Identity

Introducing Isolator: Enabling secure multi-party collaboration with healthcare data

April 11, 2024
Taylor Lehmann

Director, Office of the CISO and Enterprise Health Security Officer

Jaffa Edwards

Manager, Google Cloud Consulting, Platform Security & Compliance

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With more than a decade of experience building AI and machine learning models, Google Cloud understands both the benefits and challenges that await those looking to take advantage of these new technologies. Organizations around the world are now looking to AI solutions to solve some of their thornier problems, and to do so they need a safe, secure way when testing or developing products using important data. 

In healthcare and life sciences in particular, generative AI has shown how it can have a significant impact. This includes improving access to information and insights, reducing administrative burdens for clinicians, and accelerating the pace of drug discovery and clinical trials

Today at Google Cloud Next, we are announcing the availability of Isolator, a solution for secure infrastructure and data processing that adds a vital layer of protection to healthcare data used in collaborations between parties. Isolator can enable multi-party collaboration on work that involves handling raw and unprocessed, sensitive, and regulated data in an isolated, private, and compliant environment on Google Cloud. 

Isolator can empower multiple parties to partner on sensitive data collaborations much more easily than before, and we expect cross-industry interest in how Isolator can help spur creative technology solutions. Some examples that Isolator can help with include:

  • Building custom models: Isolator can help develop custom models using Vertex AI and our foundational models that automate high-toil, administrative tasks such as writing discharge summaries.

  • Leverage complex data: Isolator can advance adoption of our Medical Image Suite, giving researchers and data scientists the efficiencies to improve workflows, and at a lower cost than keeping data on-premise.

  • Discovering new treatments: Isolator can be used with our Multiomics Suite to simplify drug discovery and clinical trials by streamlining workflows, enabling safe multi-party collaboration, and cutting development timelines. 

  • Scaling advanced data analytics: Isolator can assist in reducing costs and improving results by moving and transforming data from siloed, on-premise databases to feature-rich and massively scalable analytic and data processing services such as Healthcare Data Engine and BigQuery.

  • Collaborating on research: Isolator is especially good at helping to build, package, and share data sets for use in model development and research. It can assure the integrity of data, and it can bring transparency into all actions taken against a data set.

Available through Google Cloud’s Consulting Services, customers and their partners can use Isolator to set up an isolated instance within their IT environment that allows them to work with sensitive healthcare data workloads while maintaining privacy, security, integrity and traceability. 

It also can aid our customers when migrating their workloads to Google Cloud, and can help establish the secure boundaries necessary to create strong AI and machine learning models by securing data end to end. 

At its core, Isolator is an environment built with Chrome Enterprise Premium, Google’s industry-first, widely-adopted Zero Trust technology. Coupled with other features built into Google Cloud, including VPC Service Controls, Chrome Enterprise, and encryption at-rest, in-use, and in- transit, Isolator can provide identity-based access that prevents data from leaving the secured Isolator environments — without requiring customers to set up and deploy special devices, data loss prevention controls, or VPN connections.

Isolator can also work with technology such as Google Confidential Space, which offers encryption for data in use with strong hardware isolation and remote attestation capabilities for even greater control.

Importantly, Isolator also comes built with detection and alerting capabilities that log data access activity, detect security misconfigurations, and report violations. This can help ensure customer security teams have full control over who is granted access to their sensitive healthcare data. 

In just a few clicks, customers can provide secure access to data and machine learning resources on Google Cloud for any collaborator, anywhere in the world, and from any device, as long as the customer organization’s security policies are continuously met. If the security of an environment protected with Isolator changes, access to data is suspended until the necessary protections are restored. Isolator is built on top of Google Cloud Services and inherits controls and assurances described on our Compliance page.

At Google Cloud, we believe that sharing our knowledge and capabilities to build AI boldly and responsibly will benefit organizations and society as a whole. That approach helps drive our desire to create solutions such as Isolator. The power that safe and secure collaboration can provide to organizations working in healthcare (and beyond) is transformative and one of the main reasons why healthcare providers, payers, and researchers have put their trust in Google Cloud.

For more information on how to get started with Isolator today, please contact a Google Cloud sales specialist through our Google Cloud Consulting Services

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