CMS improves its PHI compliance while boosting SharePoint Adoption

Critical Needs

• Security control around PHI and PII content

• Accurate reporting

• Fast content migration

• Automated governance method

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Success Highlights

  • With automated governance and improved reporting, SharePoint usage has increased from 25% to 77%.
  • AvePoint DocAve migrations are 10x faster than CMS’ previous migration tool.
  • AvePoint Compliance Guardian allows CMS to now do real-time scans of documents for PHI and PII content.
There was a lot of stuff other products couldn’t do…This was a big win for us because everything else became easy as a result. We could go back and say with confidence, we know we don’t have PHI in this content type.
Nathan Dull and Shane Perry IT Project Managers CMS

The Challenge

With around 6,300 users and just over 3 TB of data, Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was utilizing their SharePoint 2013 environment as a document repository with approximately 25 percent staff adoption.

The protection of PHI (protected health information) and PII (personally identifiable information) is paramount to CMS, but with their previous tools, they were reliant upon their user base to correctly file this information and self-report any compliance violations.

When PHI or PII data needed to be moved or especially for long-scale content moves it was a long and cumbersome process. Their previous solution was slow and client-side meaning it had to be kept active for the migration to work.

Nathan and Shane also wanted a way to automate the enforcement of their governance policy and effectively produce reports and gain insight into their environment.

“When we used to do large-scale content moves, there was a joke with our developers that we would put a mouse-jiggler on their computers to keep it active,” said Nathan Dull and Shane Perry, the IT project managers responsible for managing CMS SharePoint environment. “We needed a good, robust reporting tool and a good migration tool.”

The AvePoint Solution

“We looked at a bunch of products and I think the reason we landed on AvePoint is because we heard it was the Ferrari of tools,” said Nathan and Shane. “There was a lot that other products simply couldn’t do. And with AvePoint’s solutions server-side, we don’t have to worry about performance issues.”

The most important benefit for the CMS SharePoint project management team was the real-time scanning, enforcement and reporting of PHI and PII compliance violations.

“We were looking for a PII and PHI lockdown system,” said Nathan and Shane. “We went with Compliance Guardian because we could do real-time scans of documents on upload. If someone tried to upload a document that had some PHI, Compliance Guardian would give them an error message saying they didn’t put the document in the property library or list.”

That was a big win for the CMS SharePoint project management team because all information management activities became easier once they could look at a certain content type and say with confidence that there was no PHI.

Moving content, particularly moving one SharePoint site to another, also became easier with the use of AvePoint’s DocAve solution.

“It would take our previous basic tool about 10 hours to complete a move. AvePoint can do it in two to three hours. That’s an insane amount of time savings,” said Nathan and Shane. “We can also just schedule content moves and walk away.”

DocAve also addressed their reporting needs.

“Some of the biggest benefits for our organization has been the comprehensive reports in DocAve,” said Nathan and Shane. “People are really seeing the value of the reports, in strategizing how to best use their SharePoint environment.”

And, with no previous means of governing their SharePoint environment, CMS chose AvePoint Governance Automation to enforce SharePoint governance so that CMS IT project managers didn’t have to look over everyone’s shoulder.

“It definitely feels like we’re getting all the benefits. The product is so good, it’s almost too good,” said Shane and Nathan.

The Bottom Line

The benefits to CMS have been tremendous with adoption skyrocketing and costs plummeting.

With the help of DocAve reports, CMS has seen a large increase in SharePoint interest from staff with adoption up to about 70 percent.

CMS has also seen a high cost avoidance.

“If we didn’t have AvePoint products, we would have had to come up with custom solutions for all of our issues and would have had to pay contractors for a lot of the reports,” said Nathan and Shane.

“We’ve also avoided costs from a developer having to execute an eight-hour content move versus a two-hour content move,” said Nathan and Shane. “We estimate in the next two years we will have totally paid for the products based on cost avoidance.”

When it came down to working with the AvePoint technical team, the CMS team is a big fan.

“They are the best money we’ve ever spent. They never say no and always come up with a solution. If AvePoint can’t do it in the traditional sense, they find a way to do it. We’ve hired professional services from other people and dealt with other contractors in the past, and AvePoint is the best we’ve ever dealt with, above and beyond,” said Nathan and Shane.

As for the future of their SharePoint environment, CMS is looking to upgrade to a hybrid SharePoint environment in a couple of years, CMS is looking forward to it being a much quicker move thanks to AvePoint.

About Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The agency runs Medicare and partners with state governments to administer Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and health insurance portability standards.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services