What Lessons Can HIPAA Compliance Teach Other Industries When It Comes to IT Operations?
HIPAA is the federal legislation that controls how the security and privacy standards of protected health information are governed. Atlantic.Net has been providing HIPAA-compliant hosting services to healthcare institutions across the United States. In addition, we are experts in upholding the physical, technical and administrative safeguards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Achieving HIPAA compliance is challenging, but it is a proven method of reducing the risk and potential damage to the healthcare industry. HIPAA must be taken seriously and adhered to at all levels to be successful. One of the easiest ways to help achieve this is to outsource IT services to a HIPAA-compliant hosting provider like Atlantic.Net.
HIPAA is all about the security and integrity of data, and the founding principles of HIPAA can be applied to numerous other tech industries outside of healthcare. So what lessons can HIPAA Compliance teach other sectors when it comes to IT operations?
Lesson 1 – Encrypt Everything
HIPAA places significant emphasis on encryption, and although encryption is not a mandatory requirement of the legislation, HIPAA-covered businesses must have a good reason not to implement an encryption strategy. All industries will benefit from the full disk encryption of local and attached storage (such as Atlantic.Net’s Secure Block Storage)
HIPAA recommends using complete end-to-end encryption (E2EE); this networking standard only permits the sender and receiver to view or access critical data. In addition, our experts recommend that you encrypt all data in transit, for example, when transferring data to and from Atlantic.Net servers – the simplest way to do this is over an encrypted VPN.
Another example is the mandatory encryption of data using SSL/TLS certificates. This method introduces a secured data transfer connection that protects data when traversing private networks and the public internet. In addition, certificates prevent snooping and preserve the integrity of a website.
Lesson 2 – Invest in a Web Application Firewall
The security of personal data and business web applications is becoming an increasing concern. Industries are already expected to meet security standards that comply with their relevant sector. For example, businesses responsible for user transactions or sharing personal information have a duty to protect all data.
This is why tools such as a Web Application Firewall (WAF) are so popular. A WAF protects and enhances the security of individual web applications. For example, a typical application consists of a front, mid, and back tier. The WAF protects the entire stack by ensuring only legitimate traffic passes between the stack and that internet traffic is from a legitimate source.
Provisioning a WAF is the best way to protect against malicious scripts infecting your website and against zero-day malware. However, the WAF requires configuring and continuous management, which is why the Atlantic.Net WAF managed service is so popular. If you opt to self-manage, ensure the block lists and allow lists are regularly updated and reviewed, and the WAF is monitored 24x7x365.
Lesson 3: Know What Sensitive Data You Store and Protect the Data Lifecycle
This is another complex requirement of HIPAA; you must know what protected data you keep on your server and take measures to prevent unauthorized changes to the data. For example, do you know what data is on your servers? Or what information is stored inside an application? Data governance is critical for a modern business to comply with data protection laws.
Audit your infrastructure, identify sensitive data, and ensure security measures protect the data. Tools like an IPS (intrusion prevention system) can detect changes in data integrity and alert a SIEM platform. This approach creates a highly secure environment for sensitive business data.
Lesson 4: Invest in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Maintaining critical business services during a disaster is crucial to HIPAA compliance. The HIPAA security rule demands the development of a process to follow in the event of a crisis or disaster scenario. Many large enterprise customers already invest in disaster recovery solutions, but small and medium-sized businesses have growing business continuity and disaster recovery requirements.
“Business continuity” refers to a tried and tested recovery plan and a solution to continue business operations. The first step of business continuity is always to have a trusted backup solution that replicates data to an alternative location.
Next, draw up a disaster recovery plan (DRP) that covers the business’s technical and administrative responsibilities. For example, if you outsource your IT, your DRP should also involve your hosting provider. The DRP details the steps taken to continue operations, such as who to contact in the event of a disaster, where employees will work from, and a playbook outlining how to fail over core business services to an alternative location in the event of a catastrophic failure.
See our detailed whitepaper on the DRP process if you want to learn more about this critical business continuity element.
Lesson 5: Choose an Accredited Hosting Provider
Atlantic.Net is an award-winning HIPAA-compliant hosting provider with over 30 years of experience. We provide effective hosting solutions to an extensive list of leading healthcare clients.
Since 1994, Atlantic.Net has built a reputation as a market-leading Hosting Solutions Provider renowned for simplifying complex technologies and providing exceptional Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS). Atlantic.Net operates SSAE 18 SOC 2 and SOC2 audited and certified hosting solutions to meet the advanced IT needs of businesses. In addition, we are proud of our HIPAA-compliant hosting, HITECH, and PCI Ready options.
Contact our sales team today to find out how, heading through 2022, Atlantic.Net can help your organization meet and exceed HIPAA requirements with a managed or unmanaged hosting solution customized to meet your business’s needs.
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