Protect Against Healthcare Data Breaches and Safeguard the Reputation of Your Organization

Protect Against Healthcare Data Breaches and Safeguard the Reputation of Your Organization

If you’re in the healthcare industry, you already understand the importance of safeguarding your healthcare data. However, are you doing everything you can to combat breaches?

The costs associated with healthcare data breaches should be enough of an incentive to get most organizations up to speed on their security plans. Ponemon’s Cost of Data Breach report shows that for every patient’s record that is breached, it costs the organization $408. And now that thousands, if not more, patient records can be breached in seconds with electronic files, this fine can quickly become millions of dollars.  To avoid the cost of compromised data, here are a few areas that are key to consider for your security strategy:

Fast Action

The average time it takes healthcare providers to discover a breach is nearly 200 days. After it’s discovered, the average time it takes to get it contained is another 60-plus days according to the report by Ponemon.

By putting monitoring tools in place, you can keep a closer eye on traffic and red flag suspicious activity. This can significantly reduce any damage that might occur when your system is compromised.

Variation in Breaches

While the average cost of a breach in healthcare is $408 per patient record, the type of attack can also influence what a fine will run. For example, human errors will cost you almost $128 per compromised record. If you have a system glitch, the cost is close to $131. If you have malicious activity going on within your organization, that can lead to a cost of almost $157 per compromised patient record.

Ransomware attacks can be particularly damaging to an organization. Some organizations have had to completely rebuild their systems after such an attack, costing millions of dollars.

Reputations Take a Hit

While the fines might sting, worse is the damage an attack can cause to the reputation of an organization. Others will hold you accountable, which means you will probably notice strained relationships with your vendors, and certainly with your patients who are now more susceptible to identity theft after their information has been compromised. Persistent negative media exposure is never a good thing. 

Protection Devices

Automated security technology has stepped up in a big way to offer added protection to your healthcare data. The report from Ponemon says that for those institutions that have them in place, they’re reducing their over breach costs by $1.5 million. And cloud has emerged as one such solution that has helped businesses find security where legacy hardware failed before. 

Every good strategy has an incident response team in place, and a solid plan from which to work. Every employee knows exactly what steps to take in the event of a security breach, and they jump on the issue immediately to remediate losses. This means there is less down time, less damage, and it all results in fewer fines and less harm to the organization’s reputation.

Even with the right cloud technology, dangerous hackers honing in on your organization will be inevitable. Getting operations back quickly and safely, is key. Additional to the right technology, a stable provider can help you navigate this tricky world of cyber security, healthcare data breaches. Third-party security experts and cloud service providers are in the trenches of the latest security trends and solutions to proactively.

About Effortless

Effortless is a business cloud services provider that offers an all-in-one, managed cloud environment including solutions for security, virtual desktops, disaster recovery, servers, compliance, managed network infrastructure (next gen firewall, switches, Wi-Fi), email, and helpdesk. Effortless partners with clients to improve operations, efficiency, and mobility with its “as-a-service” model and dedicated account management. Effortless delivers and fully supports a secure ecosystem of complementary cloud products and services giving customers a single solution provider for entire IT environments.

Contact Effortless for more information or to schedule an interview.

Putting HIPAA Compliance and Security in Their Proper Roles

Putting HIPAA Compliance and Security in Their Proper Roles

If you handle protected health information (PHI) or you’re a business partner of an organization that handles PHI, you’re responsible for meeting the rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A failure to meet HIPAA compliance can result in heavy fines, so it’s important to prioritize the measures.

The mistake many organizations make is handling HIPAA compliance and security interchangeably, as if they were one and the same. While HIPAA may fall within a bigger security structure in your business continuity plan, it cannot replace a full security strategy. Here are a few of the common misconceptions around HIPAA compliance and security:

Security and compliance are not the same thing. Your security strategy is an ongoing set of tools that monitor and address the physical, technical, and administrative aspects safeguarding your electronic protected health information (ePHI). Healthcare compliance, including HIPAA, is the process of following rules, regulations, and laws that relate to healthcare practices. Compliance in healthcare can cover a wide variety of practices and observe internal and external rules. Oversight of compliance is done with auditing and monitoring to take a snapshot, in a moment of time, for reporting purposes in order to prove that the requirements have been met.

Meeting HIPAA compliance will not check the security box. Compliance requirements can be so detailed that you may make the mistake of believing that if you check each requirement off, you’ve also met some pretty high standards for a security strategy.

This is a critical mistake. HIPAA compliance includes a set of rules that change slowly, while your security strategy should be created with an eye towards an ever-changing threat that shifts on a daily basis. Compliance only involves working to make sure that certain practices and policies are in place and it generally is attended to annually. This kind of framework is woefully inadequate for security management, which requires a cohesive, layered approach.

Compliance doesn’t work well as a blueprint for security. Using compliance to build a security strategy is ineffective because it leaves your organization vulnerable. Your security program needs to be built from the ground up, with compliance, including HIPAA and HITECH as a integral piece of the comprehensive approach.

Now that you’ve got a clear picture of why compliance can’t drive your security program, it’s easy to see why a technology solutions provider must be able to meet your expectations on both fronts:

  • Not all security solutions are equal. If it only provides the bare minimum of controls when it comes to compliance, you should look elsewhere.

  • Choose a technology partner that is versed in healthcare compliance. You need them to produce audits and demonstrate how they will support your security and compliance needs.

  • Look for multilayered security, so that if one device or tool fails, you’re still protected.

  • Prioritize transparency. You should receive clear and open answers about how your data is being protected. Cover the “what if” scenarios early on.

To continue the conversation around compliance and security, contact us at Effortless. We are the experts in both, and offer enterprise-grade cloud solutions for healthcare organizations. We can help you build the security program you need to minimize your vulnerability, while also being fully prepared for a compliance audit.