The Healthcare Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been a reality for the medical and insurance coverage communities due to the fact 1996, resulting in a larger level of accountability for those involved with the transfer and storage of medical information relating to patients. This data, referred to by HIPAA as Protected Well being Data and Electronic Protected Well being Info (EPHI), needs that protected details remains confidential and that it isn’t disclosed to any unauthorized parties. Failure to secure EPHI can result in lawsuits, loss of revenue, and fines for the offending business.
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As communications technology has evolved so has HIPAA, resulting in problems for a lot of corporate IT departments. Several of the technological tools present inside the workplace nowadays, for instance laptop computer systems, removable storage devices, and wireless networks, pose distinct threats to HIPAA compliance. As a result, organizations ought to control access to details; not a problem inside a regular workplace setting but in an organization with remote workers or wireless capabilities, the remedy becomes more complex.
Fortunately, in the final two years, software program options from organizations such as Safend, have emerged which let organizations to continue to use productivity-enhancing tools even though keeping the highest level of data security. These solutions function by stopping unauthorized information and facts data transfer or “leakage”, integrating into current corporate architectures and guaranteeing that virtual safety breaches are contained.
Irrespective of which technological tools you choose to deploy, there are three key steps you are able to take to decrease info leaks and facilitate HIPAA compliance:
1. Evaluate potential information leaks
The initial step in any safety planning exercise is to evaluate the outstanding vulnerabilities within the network. Not merely is this a superb practice, it’s a HIPAA requirement. This course of action requires running a network auditing tool that permits the program administrator to collect information and facts from each and every corporate Pc or laptop (endpoints) and deliver a comprehensive list of which devices, ports and connections are obtainable for use. Identifying which connections are becoming utilised and how they’re becoming utilized (file transfers vs. entertainment activity) is really essential in pinpointing weak spots and prospective leaks in an organization’s network.
two. Establish access policies
As soon as you’ve got determined exactly where your vulnerabilities lie and which devices, connections, and ports are open and obtainable for use, create a specialized strategy to establish access level policies for particular users and varieties of information. By way of example, does a temporary employee call for the exact same degree of information and facts access as a item manager? Who is going to be permitted to download info to perform from residence? Which types of storage devices may perhaps they use? Which remote workers will be allowed to login towards the corporate network and which locations will they be permitted access to? Your new program must incorporate access levels that meet the particular HIPAA specifications relevant for the enterprise.
3. Implement and enforce policy compliance
After you may have established and communicated corporate access level policies, implement them in your organization’s endpoints (laptops, PCs, etc.). The access rights of customers needs to be monitored periodically, as necessary by HIPAA, to ensure that policies are getting followed. Computer software is often installed to enforce the policies in the endpoint by limiting facts flow in the endpoint to external information destinations. By way of example, a Medicare billing clerk is usually permitted access to a patient’s electronic chart whilst the human sources group is denied access to these files. Restrictions may be connected using a distinct device, port, and even by file. Ideally, computer software employed to enforce policy compliance will gather logs and produce reports that record every instance of attempted access, any restricted activity, as well as the transfer of data. Such tools will help in providing an data trail and also satisfying the information accountability tenets of HIPAA.
Utilizing data protection solutions that address endpoint vulnerabilities augment HIPAA safeguards and may integrate with current organizational access privileges to manage the flow of information. This three-step strategy tackles the hard job of making certain that data leakage has minimal influence on HIPAA compliance and provides tools to manage the protective aspects and audit requirements on the regulation. On top of that, rapidly deployable technical controls can easily be integrated into current policies. Without the need of this sort of endpoint security strategy, organizations face critical cracks in any infrastructure developed to become HIPAA compliant.
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