A simple explanation by Atlantic.Net
Businesses that handle sensitive data requiring regulatory compliance often have computing needs which make them ideal candidates to benefit from the cloud. Medical practitioners covered under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA ) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act must have confidence in the availability and security of their IT systems not just because they are required to by law, but because their delivery of critical services depends on it.
In previously discussing private and public cloud hosting solutions, we defined cloud computing roughly as the use and storage of data and programs over the internet, enabled by virtualization, as a scalable and elastic service. Atlantic.Net’s HIPAA Compliant Cloud Hosting offering is an environment specifically engineered for HIPAA compliance within the Atlantic.Net Public or Private Cloud. It provides secure and compliant IT system access to internal, remote, and mobile employees to allow them to concentrate on service delivery.
HIPAA compliance is based on satisfying a set of requirements, including the Privacy Rule, the Breach Notification Rule, and the Security Rule. Healthcare companies will also be concerned with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which regulates the electronic transmission of health information. HIPAA compliance failures can result in jail time, and more frequently, result in fines of thousands or even millions of dollars for a covered entity (CE), such as a health care provider, health plan, or health data clearinghouse. What makes a solution HIPAA compliant is a series of plans, measures, and commitments underpinned by enhanced security features.
HIPAA compliance requires that a set of data security standards and capabilities be met, but does not specify certain technical means to meeting them. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services , provisions in a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between a covered entity and a HIPAA-compliant cloud provider may address HIPAA concerns, including: system availability and reliability, back-up and data recovery, how data will be returned to the customer after the service, security responsibility, and limitations of data use, retention, and disclosure.
While this is not meant to be a comprehensive list, a HIPAA-compliant cloud hosting environment and the hosting company should offer the following core features. Below we list those features and go into greater detail about how Atlantic.Net fulfills the requirements for HIPAA-compliant hosting.
The main security features of Atlantic.Net HIPAA Cloud are its fully managed firewall solutions and advanced intrusion detection system (IDS). An IDS provides real-time threat monitoring, based on a continually-revised threat database, which is used to identify threats within the system based on their patterns or “signatures.” The firewall controls and protects access to the perimeter of the cloud and tracks a variety of metrics, such as the response rate for network gateways. Network security professionals take care of the monitoring, updating, and other tasks necessary to the firewall and IDS's management, removing a significant source of potential risk, frustration, and man-hours from the healthcare organization.
In addition to our fully managed firewall and IDS, Atlantic.Net also includes fully-encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) access to all of a business’ hosted servers. This helps satisfy the requirement that all data transmitted to a server with Protected Health Information (PHI) is sent over a secure and encrypted network.
While Atlantic.Net manages the firewall and other elements that combine to provide HIPAA compliance, customers can choose to manage their own host servers, and retain full visibility into their system or have Atlantic.Net’s expert engineers manage their servers, freeing up internal company resources to focus on core business directives.
The potential for multi-million dollar fines and jail time for not implementing HIPPAA/HITECH compliance makes it essential for all covered entities. The global market for IT services in support of healthcare is expected to grow from $134 billion in 2016 to $280 billion in 2021, with the majority of revenue in North America, according to MarketsandMarkets research.
HIPAA compliance delivered through Atlantic.Net’s HIPPA Cloud solutions provides all the benefits of the cloud, including availability, scalability, cost savings, access to expert engineeers, along with a strong added security or compliance benefits.
As an Atlantic.Net HIPAA Cloud customer ShareSafe Solutions provides software-as-a-service (SaaS) to healthcare companies for secure, HIPAA-compliant communication and information sharing. ShareSafe Solutions delivers integrated communication between office terminals and mobile devices through the cloud, protecting against breaches with biometric identity authentication and other technologies. The company required a robust cloud to maintain instant communication, without compromising on security. It chose Atlantic.Net for support from skilled engineers, and was rewarded for that decision with swift mitigation of multiple DDoS attacks.
In addition to its fully managed firewall solutions and robust intrusion detection systems, Atlantic.Net HIPAA Cloud features highly available infrastructure, an encrypted virtual private network (VPN), a robust log management system, and a choice of Windows or Linux servers. It is all backed by an available Business Associate Agreement (BAA) which establishes parameters for Atlantic.Net's use of protected health information (PHI).
Atlantic.Net's HIPAA solution is third-party audited, and backed by a 100 percent network and hardware uptime service level agreement (SLA). Our data centers are certified, with state-of-the-art redundant systems, power, and physical security.
Having secure infrastructure and meeting planning and documentation standards for compliance are important for satisfying HIPAA requirements. The real value of Atlantic.Net HIPAA Cloud Hosting, however, is our extensive experience surpassing the minimum standards for compliance, security, and availability, backed by our expert team of engineers. Atlantic.Net HIPAA Cloud gives healthcare organizations and CEs an IT environment that provides compliant, high-performance networking, and the service to help healthcare organizations use it to the maximum benefit for their business.
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