How Secure Is Your Healthcare Data - 7 Steps to Protect Patient Information
Data violations, stolen information, revealed personal records these are what we would be hearing about daily on distressing allegations of mishandled data.
In healthcare field, mishandled data comes with an exceptional set of challenging allegations. You might have you come across the 2014 hack against Community Health Systems, which resulted in stolen information that affected nearly 4.5 million people. Data safety is becoming an increasing worry for healthcare organizations, and for good reason.
We all are aware that healthcare organizations create and gain information at a record speed. According to a study is has been predicted that in the upcoming years, big data for U.S. healthcare would touch a scale of 1024 gigabytes. (Source: .ricoh-usa.com).
Since the amount of healthcare data is increasing, consequently data privacy and safety is at risks. Data privacy and security violations not only spoils’ your organization’s reputation and compromise on patient relationships, but it also results in major expenditure.
Here are 7 ways that you need to follow to protect against vulnerabilities and improve your healthcare IT security
Two Factor Verification
Two Factor verification is one of the most common authentication technique utilized in most healthcare organizations which today remains the attempted and true username/password combination. Still even with strong password policies in place i.e. character limits, alphanumeric requirements and automatic expiry still it is not reasonably adequate to prevent a persistent attacker. This technique makes sure an additional security layer is in place, usually in the form of a physical or biometric control, like swipe cards, security tokens, finger print scanners, or facial identification. Whilst all offer a bonus degree of security and another obstacle for an attacker, the final two propose the strongest security while reducing the risk of forgetting or misplacing security devices.
Security checking and alerts
Nearly all healthcare IT systems in use today have some structure of practical observing that alert IT staff of possible problems, like performance degradation, storage space capacity, or unexpected outages. In the same way, security monitoring systems can recognize usage patterns, and alert security personnel when exceptions arise. By swiftly recognizing potential security menaces steps can be taken to resolve the problem before the system is compromised.
Encryption at Rest
The main concern for IT departments is safe encryption of data when it’s been transferred – particularly if it will be parting from the secure network to a location outside, such as a teleradiology network. As this guards the movement of data, too often when the data is inactive in storage it is unencrypted, and thus unguarded should an access breach occur. Encrypting data at rest offers an extra layer of safety that would avoid a probable intruder from decoding or dispensing the data in any meaningful way, even if they were to gain access.
Whitelisting, at times referred to as Application Control, which includes limiting the applications, users, systems and devices that can link to your network to those openly listed on the ‘whitelist’. If you are not on the list then you are not given access. There are several ways to deal with whitelisting, including domain names, file and folder attributes, digital signatures, cryptographic attributes, physical or IP addresses and more. Though sustaining a whitelist may appear cumbersome, it is an efficient technique for protecting against vulnerabilities that can be introduced by external users and devices that are not under the control of your IT department.
Retain a Secure Backup of your Data
In the incident of a security breach, make sure a trustworthy backup copy of your data is available, and a well-tested revival plan is in place, this can diminish the impact and permit operations to continue with minimal, if any, disruption in care delivery. To be efficient for safety against attacks that are targeted at data availability or consistency is important to make sure that backups are geographically divided and cordoned off from production systems and networks to guarantee they are not directly linked to compromised systems.
An advanced option, this is a latest innovation that is not yet extensively implemented within the healthcare industry however offers significant guarantee for delivering a highly secure and reliable method for exchanging information. With Blockchain no one entity has complete ownership or control of the data, rather it is securely distributed across a system of participating entities who together store, track and validate information and transactions. This technology facilitates imaginative access to patient health records while virtually eradicating the prospects for data to be maliciously removed, changed, or meddle with.
Look to the professionals
Another general issue in many healthcare organizations is the need of true security proficiency within the IT team. Because budget restrictions, many IT personnel are known as ‘jacks of all trades’, mastering storage, server and workstation hardware, virtualization, software management and more. In order to make sure your data and systems are well protected it is necessary to employ a security expert. Engaging a professional resource like an experienced consultant can help identify and implement security controls and processes alongside your existing team.
At last, it’s essential to keep in mind that while security is a ever-present necessity across the healthcare industry, like many other aspects of healthcare IT, it does not offer a once-size-fits-all solution.
Why Velan HCS?
Our legacy and established our expertise as a medical billing service provider for over a decade has exposed to us the nitty-gritty’s implicated in the business. We stay abreast with every little change that is likely to impact your claims.
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