2015 Advertising Opportunities - Find Out More!

Top 5 HIPAA Security Risks As Providers Migrate To The Cloud

Top 5 HIPAA Security Risks As Providers Migrate To The Cloud

Top 5 HIPAA Security Risks As Providers Migrate to the Cloud

The HIPAA and HITECH Acts made a huge splash in the healthcare industry as organizations were forced to adapt new safeguards for protected health information, especially in regards to electronic medical records (EMRs). As hospitals migrate to electronic patient health information (ePHI), they must maintain compliance whether they use in-house servers or cloud hosting solutions.

With organizations required to report breaches affecting 500 or more patients since the final compliance date of 2006, there’s been some time to collect data. Based on the official breach reports from 2009 to mid-April 2013, here are the top 5 security risks for healthcare IT professionals as they make the switch to EMRs:

1) Theft of Laptops or Portable Devicestype-of-HIPAA_breach (1)

Despite the focus on ePHI, firewalls, encryption and other methods of thwarting e-thieves, by far the most likely breach to occur is the simple theft of equipment itself, and the easiest and most valuable item for a thief to steal is a laptop computer or smart phone. 44% of all breaches are from laptops, and 51% of all breaches are theft.

That’s not a reason to abandon the use of mobile computers by doctors and other healthcare professionals; in fact, laptop thieves are probably only interested in wiping the hard drive and selling the stolen item as fast as possible. But it does mean hospitals and practices should keep a close eye on their mobile equipment through user logins, inventoried devices, and, if possible, software that allows a stolen laptop to be located.

2) Paper Files

Another surprising piece of data reveals that paper breaches are more common than any electronic breach with the exception of laptops; nearly a quarter of all breaches are paper related. Paper breaches are most likely to occur from unauthorized access, loss, or a combination. The best solution to paper problems? Migrating to an EMR system where it is easier to keep an eye on who is accessing information and where files are more difficult to misplace.

3) Unauthorized Access/Disclosure from Devices or Paper Files

Unsurprisingly, after paper files, mobile devices, laptops and computers come next. These breaches can come anywhere, from a doctor telling a non-related individual about a patient case to an unauthorized individual reading a hallway terminal. This should be a major concern for managers because it really comes down to hiring and training good people.

Instilling the importance of patient privacy in staff is necessary to curb unauthorized access. Proper protocols for computer use (think logging off public terminals) and the placement of mobile computing devices away from prying eyes can both reduce the amount of breaches. Electronic security methods can help stop

unauthorized access, whether that means frequent changing of user passwords or the latest encryption and firewalls.

4) Loss of Paper Files or Devices

Perhaps the most difficult breach source to defend against, loss makes up 11% of all compromised PHI. Whether it’s paper files or mobile devices (it is difficult to lose an entire computer or network server), sometimes things just seem to disappear. However, some of the methods mentioned above could reduce loss, such as tracking all organization-owned devices and, of course, employee training.

5) Hacking/IT Incidents

Finally, we reach the dreaded scourge of healthcare IT: hacking and IT breaches. They just barely make the top 5 sources (if we discount “combination”), with this category representing only 6.3% of all breaches. Hacking or IT incidents can occur to computers, mobile devices or network servers, and the best way to defend against them is proper digital security.

The single biggest step an organization can take in maintaining HIPAA compliance and the integrity of ePHI is creating a step-by-step plan for the handling of patient information and training staff thoroughly on its usage. Working with a HIPAA compliant infrastructure provider can help IT departments create a confident strategy. Every bad egg can’t be eliminated—there will always be somebody who is willing to share information they shouldn’t  as well as people making honest mistakes—but with proper planning and modern technology, breaches can be minimized, reducing the risk to healthcare providers throughout the country.

By Joe Kozlowicz

Green House Data delivers high-availability cloud hosting and colocation services with 24/7 live service. Our SSAE 16 Type II and HIPAA compliant data centers are 40% more efficient than the competition and powered by 100% renewable energy. For more information visit www.greenhousedata.com

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

One Response to Top 5 HIPAA Security Risks As Providers Migrate To The Cloud

  1. Very interesting article that outlines the biggest risks when dealing with PHI.  I think a large majority of organizations have trouble understanding the requirements associated with HIPAA compliance.  Especially with the expansion of HIPAA in the new Omnibus Rule that extends specific requirements and liability to Business Associates.  This is why my company, Accountable, is building a platform to help organizations manage their HIPAA compliance easily.  Safeguarding against security risks is only one way to prevent the government from finding your organization to be in HIPAA compliance.
    Kevin Henry, Founder – Accountable
    http://accountablehq.com

Comics

At CloudTweaks, we're plugged into the cloud, the internet of things and all that the web has to offer. From wearable technology, to mobile computing, cloud computing and big data, CloudTweaks is your source for updates and news on the most innovative technology.

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues Nowadays, many companies are changing their overall information technology strategies to embrace cloud computing in order to open up business opportunities.  There are numerous definitions of cloud computing. Simply speaking, the term “cloud computing” comes from network diagrams in which cloud shapes are  used to describe certain types of networks. All…

Forrester Releases Its “15 Emerging Technologies To Watch Before 2020” Report

Forrester Releases Its “15 Emerging Technologies To Watch Before 2020” Report

15 Emerging Technologies To Watch Before 2020 The cloud, big data, the internet of things, and wearable technology have all featured heavily in Forrester’s latest list of fifteen technologies to watch before 2020. It is becoming a reality for businesses that they need to adapt and change to an increasingly technologically-minded customer base. Traditional marketing…

IBM and SAP Announce Industry’s Largest Cloud Deal

IBM and SAP Announce Industry’s Largest Cloud Deal

IBM and SAP Announce Industry’s Largest Cloud Deal IBM and SAP have shaken the cloud computing world this afternoon with the announcement of one of the largest cloud deals in the industry’s history – bringing together two of the largest technology companies in a bid to offer a more holistic service to their clients. SAP…

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

The Future Of Big Data Big Data is BIG business and will continue to be one of the more predominant areas of focus in the coming years from small startups to large scale corporations. We’ve already covered on CloudTweaks how Big Data can be utilized in a number of interesting ways from preventing world hunger to helping teams win…

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic: Disaster Recovery  Business downtime can be detrimental without a proper disaster recovery plan in place. Only 6% of businesses that experience downtime without a plan will survive long term. Less than half of all businesses that experience a disaster are likely to reopen their doors. There are many causes of data loss and…

Featured Sponsors

Cloud Logo Sponsors

hp Logo CityCloud-PoweredByOpenstack-Blue square_logo_100x100-01
cisco_logo_100x100 vmware citrix100

2015 Advertising Opportunities - Find Out More!

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

Contact

CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Join Our Newsletter