What Are the Cybersecurity Requirements for HIPAA?
If you’re a business that works in healthcare in any capacity, you must follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The key pillar of HIPAA is safeguarding patients’ sensitive personal information from being disclosed without their consent or knowledge, requiring affected companies to meet certain cybersecurity requirements.
Contrary to popular belief, HIPAA doesn’t just affect covered entities like healthcare firms; all business associates with healthcare clients must comply with it. These business associates include lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, etc. Essentially, any company that provides workers the potential to access protected health information must be HIPAA compliant.
With high stakes and the complicated nature of compliance, many organizations turn to cybersecurity experts specializing in HIPAA to ensure all requirements are followed and that nothing slips through the cracks. The experts make compliance easy to follow and help organizations avoid audits and fines. Above all, compliance solutions should fulfill HIPAA obligations, protect patient privacy, and ensure the security of private health information.
These cybersecurity requirements often include the following:
- Risk assessments and internal audits
- Staff compliance training
- Data breach management
Work With 46Solutions for HIPAA-Compliance Cybersecurity Experts
We’re certified in compliance for healthcare entities and business associates and have over 300 years of combined IT and cybersecurity experience working with various Kentucky businesses of all sizes and industries. 46Solutions can help determine your organization’s compliance requirements, conduct cybersecurity audits and risk assessments, and provide the solutions needed to reduce your risk.Schedule free consultation
Risk Assessments and Internal Audits
The healthcare industry is a prime target for cybercriminals for several reasons. Many healthcare organizations struggle to secure data, from outdated or insufficient electronic medical records to basic or nonexistent network security.
Due to the importance of network integrity and confidentiality for covered entities and business associates, industry professionals will recommend that the first step for HIPAA compliance is hiring an experienced IT provider to conduct a comprehensive cybersecurity audit and risk assessment.
Covered entities and business associates that conduct cybersecurity risk audits will comply with HIPAA’s Security Rule, which establishes national standards for protecting personal health information and requires healthcare firms to undertake the appropriate technical safeguards. It requires an accurate and thorough risk analysis of potential vulnerabilities of all created, received, maintained, and transmitted patient health information. Covered entities and business associates must implement security measures to reduce those cybersecurity risks.
During the security risk audit, the IT provider will assess your company’s systems, infrastructure, network, data encryption, compliance, and policies to determine gaps or regulation misses. Afterward, they will provide recommendations for strengthening your cybersecurity and network. For example, they might recommend adding two-factor authentication for software programs and high-level computer security features.
Learn more about the benefits of cybersecurity auditing and risk assessments in our blog.
Staff Compliance Training
While many would assume that bad actors cause most data breaches, that’s not statistically true. In 2022, the Verizon Enterprises Data Breach Investigations Report found that human mistakes account for over 80% of breaches in the healthcare industry. Your employees are the most likely to cause a data breach inadvertently. It’s over 2.5 times more common that they made a mistake than maliciously misused their access.
These mistakes include:
- Lack of employee awareness around phishing emails
- Inability to recognize common signs of malware
- Incorrectly sharing patient data over personal email addresses or insecure cloud-based platforms
It’s critical to invest in mandatory cybersecurity training for all of your employees, from interns to c-level management. Compliance training is one of the easiest and most affordable ways healthcare facilities can reduce the chances they will incur a data breach. When you combine training with risk audit recommendations and hiring dedicated professional IT support, your organization will not only be HIPAA compliant but also less at risk.
Data Breach Management
Ransomware is the second most likely reason for data breaches in the healthcare industry and an increasing threat for covered entities and business associates. Confidential patient information and insecure networks are gold mines for cybercriminals. It’s when a bad actor encrypts sensitive patient information with a key only they know until a hefty ransom is paid. Once the ransom is paid, they will also deploy malware that destroys data.
To prevent data breaches, the HIPAA Security Rule requires that covered entities and business associates implement the following security measures to help them respond to and recover from a ransomware attack:
- Conduct an annual risk audit and implement a security management process
- Implement procedures to safeguard against malicious software
- Train internal users on malicious software protection and recognizing the signs of a ransomware attack
- Implement access controls to limit access to patient health information to those with the right clearance
- Maintain frequent backups (offline and unavailable from the organization’s networks) and ensure the ability to recover data in the case of a ransomware attack
- Maintain reliable contingency and business continuity plans
- Create a security incident procedure for responding and reporting ransomware attacks to criminal law enforcement agencies, the appropriate federal agencies, the Office for Civil Rights, Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations, and the media if needed
- Create a procedure for reporting to affected individuals if there is a breach of protected health information within 60 days of the occurrence
Get HIPAA-Compliant Cybersecurity Solutions Tailored for Your Healthcare Business With 46Solutions
If you work for a covered entity or a business associate and want to know if your digital footprint is HIPAA compliant, 46Solutions is the technology partner for you. We provide enterprise-level HIPAA-compliant cybersecurity solutions to central Kentucky healthcare businesses. Our highly-experienced technicians provide stress-free IT support and peace of mind.
We will conduct a risk assessment and implement policies and procedures to help you strengthen your data protection, streamline backup and recovery, and give your organization the ability to manage data more effectively and safely. Call us for more information at (859) 788-4600, email email@example.com, or fill out our easy 5-question online form below for a free consultation. Check out our 30-minute network assessment challenge. If we cannot find any vulnerabilities or security gaps in 30 minutes, we’ll donate $100 to your favorite local nonprofit.Schedule free consultation