BY Stephen Cavey | 27/10/2020
Since its creation, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has served as a pillar of the American healthcare system, aiming to protect the privacy, security and integrity of protected health information (PHI). For the various organizations that manage PHI, the regulation has been notoriously difficult to adhere to, requiring specific security, network, and process measures to protect sensitive information.
To ensure that these organizations comply, the HIPAA Security Rule requires all eligible organizations and third parties to conduct a security risk assessment on electronic PHI (ePHI). But as the healthcare industry continues to increasingly rely on technology, it is also putting ePHI at greater risk of data breaches and unauthorized access. Now, more than ever, organizations need to be conducting security risk assessments that reveal the strength and vulnerabilities of the network. Here’s some helpful tips for conducting an accurate security risk assessment:
To conduct a proper security risk assessment, organizations must leave no stone left unturned, and while there is no set list of steps, the nature of the healthcare industry means that ePHI is shared between multiple touchpoints, organizations and personnel, leaving it vulnerable. Before organizations can successfully evaluate the risks in their environments, they must understand the varying assessment requirements, including:
Once you have determined what information you will need for a successful security risk assessment, organizations should aim to review and update the scope as necessary.
Much like conducting a regularly scheduled data discovery sweep, security risk assessments are not a one time process. The most successful organizations have an action plan in place that addresses evolving security needs.
The first step for any organization is determining how regularly they will be conducting security risk assessments. The size of the organization and the amount of PHI it manages will ultimately determine the cadence of risk assessments — a good best practice is to assess the network once a quarter. Other questions to consider include:
These questions only scratch the surface of what organizations should know about HIPAA compliance, but once you have determined the scope of the analysis and have an action plan in place, it is time to conduct a security risk assessment.
There are several resources and tools for organizations looking to conduct a security risk assessment, including the Security Risk Assessment (SRA) Tool to help guide the process. Developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in collaboration with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the SRA Tool is a downloadable tool designed to help healthcare providers conduct a security risk assessment.
At Ground Labs, our core focus has always been on developing technology that meets the increasing challenges of data management and regulatory compliance through our comprehensive and trusted solutions to confidently mitigate risk and find PHI. With Enterprise Recon 2.1, the latest version of our award-winning solution, organizations can find and remediate sensitive information across a range of structured and unstructured data. Whether information is stored on servers, employee devices, or in the cloud, Enterprise Recon, powered by GLASS™ Technology, enables the quickest and most accurate and seamless data discovery.
Enterprise Recon comes pre-configured with HIPAA PII patterns and can be configured to capture other common types of HIPAA-sensitive data like credit card numbers and email addresses. With Enterprise Recon’s powerful remediation capabilities, you can take the Safe Harbor de-identification approach by masking sensitive PHI from the web console, or encrypting data at rest. Enterprise Recon allows your organization to operate efficiently with these compliance abiding features:
The healthcare sector is rapidly adjusting to a number of market forces including the proliferation of technology, and as the amount of data created in the healthcare setting continues to grow, HIPAA compliance will become more challenging. As organizations look to anticipate and mitigate security risks before they occur, conducting regular security risk assessments is the next step in creating a more secure healthcare environment. Get on track with Enterprise Recon.
Ready to learn more about how to maintain HIPAA compliance with Enterprise Recon? Schedule a demo today.
Share this article!
Want to keep up with all our blog posts? Subscribe to our newsletter!
As companies all around the world continue have large portions of their workforce remote, the need to keep their data safe and protected is even more critical. To help companies navigate this new reality and mitigate security risks, we are providing a 90-day complimentary version of our flagship solution—Enterprise Recon. Learn more about it here.
Please submit the form below and we’ll contact you to schedule a discovery call. Want to skip the email? Go here to schedule a meeting directly on our calendar.