HIPAA Compliance with Managed IT Services

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HIPAA Fines for Neglecting Cyber Security

Healthcare businesses must comply with HIPAA regulations regarding patient information. This includes putting in place cyber security measures to protect personal health information from online and network threats including viruses, ransomware, malware, phishing, theft, and damages caused by natural disasters.

A risk analysis and set of procedures, while necessary to addressing vulnerabilities in  your systems, is not enough to avoid breaking HIPAA regulations. If patient data is breached due to insufficient cyber security measures, the healthcare company is in violation of HIPAA regulations which could result in harsh penalties. The minimum fine for a willful violation of HIPAA regulations is $50,000 per incident.

VIP offers a wide range of products and services to safeguard healthcare businesses from threats affecting their patient’s digital healthcare information. Our Managed IT Services bundles are customized to include the things healthcare businesses need to mitigate threats in security. Our HIPAA compliance services can include the following solutions: 

Antivirus and Antimalware Software

Viruses and malware are a threat to anyone using a computer with access to the internet. For those in the healthcare industry, a cyber attack could end up costing thousands upon thousands of dollars in damages. Without a quality antivirus/antimalware software, not only would a healthcare company have to pay for the usual damages caused by viruses, ransomware, and malware, but they would also face fines for violating HIPAA.

It’s important for any business to utilize a quality antivirus/antimalware software, which is essential in detecting, preventing, and removing viruses and malware that can cause harm to your systems, network, and data. A few criteria to consider when choosing an antivirus software are:

  • Not “FREE.” As with most things, you get what you pay for, and free antivirus software will likely just cause headaches for you and your company.
  • Download protection. You should look for an antivirus that ensures protection when you download information from the web.
  • Privacy policy–we recommend that you carefully read the privacy policy of any antivirus you’re looking to purchase. Some companies will share your contact information. 
  • Real-time information and continuous threat monitoring.
  • Real-time autonomous protection. 

Quality, Up-to-Date Router

A router with intrusion prevention built-in is required by HIPAA, as is renewing the router’s yearly subscriptions required to keep the intrusion software up-to-date.

VIP recommends Fortinet routers and security subscriptions. According to their website, “Fortinet delivers high-performance network security solutions that protect your network, users, and data from continually evolving threats. Our broad portfolio of top-rated solutions and centralized management enables security consolidation and delivers a simplified, end-to-end security infrastructure.”

Onsite and Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution

Both onsite and offsite backups are a necessity in today’s threat climate. An onsite only solution, while highly recommended, still leaves a business vulnerable to data loss due to any number of calamities such as fire, flood, user errors, and ransomware, just to name a few. VIP offers a complete, fully-automated and monitored onsite backup and offsite disaster recovery solution to protect a business’ critical data on two levels. Backups are performed onsite to either a dedicated server or network attached security device and then synced to our secure, offsite data storage facility. The onsite backup allows for a quicker restore of data when the need arises and the offsite backup is available in case the onsite backup is lost, damaged, or otherwise not recoverable.

Email Encryption

Email encryption is required for healthcare businesses to communicate any medical information to their patients. Having the proper tools to encrypt emails is especially important as healthcare becomes increasingly dependent on digital mediums to communicate with, diagnose, and treat patients. Encrypting an email protects the information contained in the email from being read by anyone other than the intended recipient. The HIPAA Security Rule allows covered entities to transmit electronic protected health information (PHI) via email, but only if the information is adequately protected through email encryption.

VIP recommends and offers Microsoft Office 365 for businesses. Microsoft Office 365 is one of the highest-ranked email platforms for businesses and encrypted use required by HIPAA.

Microsoft Office 365 Backup and Archiving

Many Office 365 users believe that Microsoft fully backs up their Office 365 data as part of their monthly service. While this belief is quite common, it is incorrect. This misunderstanding could lead to unexpected loss of Office 365 emails and data if this issue is left unaddressed, which would be detrimental to a healthcare business required to comply with HIPAA.

Microsoft Office 365 is not 100% secure and data loss can and does occur with more frequency than most would like to admit. The user is responsible for their own data, not Microsoft. Even Microsoft, in their Office 365 terms and conditions, recommends a backup of Office 365 data. Office 365 online backup is critically important, especially as Microsoft Office 365 is used more and more in the evolving digital medicine climate.

Emails can be intentionally or accidentally deleted and files can become corrupted through errors or from viruses and ransomware which are ever-present threats. Healthcare businesses who fail to safely backup their emails risk lost data, wasted time in trying to recover files, extra costs associated with restoring files, lost revenue caused by business interruption, and failure to take the necessary precautions required to be compliant with HIPAA.

Office 365 Backup and Archiving, offered by VIP, is a cloud-based backup solution with military-grade encryption designed to safely protect a business’s digital assets. Businesses can rest assured their email is safe and secure from the many risks that threaten the healthcare industry every day by using our solution which includes:

  • Exchange Online and Office 365 backup and archiving.
  • Calendars, Tasks, and Attachments backup.
  • OneDrive and SharePoint backup.
  • Team Sites backup.

Conclusion

Those in the healthcare industry have a responsibility to their patients to keep sensitive information safe from all manner of threats. VIP is equipped to help safeguard digital patient information through our customized Managed Services solutions. We work hard to ensure maximum protection so you can focus more on your patients. Call us today for an evaluation or a quote at (918) 279-7000, click here to see all of our services, or click here to download our HIPAA and Managed Services PDF.

(The information regarding HIPAA regulations provided by VIP Technology Solutions Group is not intended to serve as an official standard. The HIPAA compliance information included in this article should serve only as a guide, and healthcare businesses should refer to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for official HIPAA rules and regulations.)

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Internet Best Practices

One of the quickest and least expensive ways to help protect your business from unwanted viruses, malware, and other cyber threats is to educate your team on safe internet practices.

Antivirus and Firewall

Hackers and scammers have created all kinds of malicious programs to cause harm to your computers and your data, and they’re always inventing new tactics to combat your security measures. That’s why having both a quality antivirus and firewall are important for every business.