Cyber criminals always attack where the money is. That means that industries such as healthcare and financial services are especially at risk for a cyber-attack. Every week you hear another story about a data breach of some kind where sensitive material is taken from a company or accidentally shared by an employee.
One of the reasons for the rise in cyber-security breaches is the popularity of social media. When employees use company computers to access social media and click on a link shared by a “friend,” they might accidentally introduce malware into the network. Employees might also inadvertently share private information on social media not aware that they are breaking any rules. Cybercriminals can use personal information easily found on social media to trick people into giving up passwords and/or user credentials to gain access to private information.
With cyber-crime more prevalent than it’s ever been, how can firms that are entrusted with client information keep sensitive data out of the hands of cyber-criminals? The key lies in being compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Because the healthcare industry deals with very sensitive information, HIPAA guidelines were put into place to make sure that healthcare providers are doing everything in their power to keep patient information private. Though HIPAA is primarily aimed at the healthcare industry, other industries such as financial services can also benefit from learning about best HIPAA practices. If your business handles patient information of any kind, you need to be familiar with HIPAA and make sure you’re compliant.
There are two major components to HIPAA. The first is the Privacy Rule. The Privacy Rule includes the standards, processes, and policies for limiting access to personal information. It’s rather technical but the most important thing is that a healthcare provider cannot disclose any patient information without authorization except for certain circumstances such as law enforcement and litigation.
The Security Rule is the part that outlines the administrative, physical, and technical safeguards that are necessary to keep patient information secure. Whereas the Privacy Rule helps companies to avoid giving away personal information, the Security Rule makes it harder for an outside threat to steal patient information.
How to stay compliant
The main thing business owners need to do to stay compliant is to stay informed of HIPAA guidelines as they can are updated from time to time. Because business owners have to juggle many responsibilities, a great option is to invest in managed IT services. A managed service provider can lend their cyber-security expertise to make sure that a business is compliant with HIPAA which frees up businesses to focus on providing healthcare without having to worry about cyber-threats.