A growing number of healthcare practices are finding that cloud services, once feared by security-conscious providers, are now proving to be a safer option than on-premises alternatives. While only 4% of healthcare providers adopted the cloud in 2011, use of the vertical cloud is now growing by 20% annually, according to MarketandMarkets. By 2017, the researchers predict, healthcare organizations will spend $5.4 billion on cloud services. Security demands are driving some of this growth. Stronger HIPAA laws penalize organizations that breach patient data -- and many breaches occur when an employee loses a laptop.