Cybersecurity Best Practices: HIPAA Data Loss Prevention

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Data security in the healthcare industry is not an easy undertaking. Insurers and business partners must find a balance between stringent legal requirements like HIPAA & the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and patient privacy. A health practitioner or any firm that manages uses, or transmits patient data must follow strong data protection standards, which result in harsh penalties and fines. PHI is some of a person’s most private information. HIPAA compliance requires that data be accessible only to authorized individuals and used only for legitimate purposes to safeguard the safety of patient information. Each covered entity is responsible for selecting the security measures to implement—regulations requiring healthcare data protection—for healthcare firms to remain compliant.


How to Safeguard Health Data


These healthcare cybersecurity best practices try to stay up with the evolving threat landscape by addressing privacy and data protection risks on endpoints and in the cloud and preserving data while it is in transit, at rest, and in use. This necessitates a comprehensive, complicated approach to security such as employing HIPAA compliance software.


●    Implement Data Usage Rules


Protective data controls go beyond access controls and monitoring to ensure that dangerous or malicious data activity is detected and handled in real time. Healthcare businesses can use data controls to prevent sensitive data acts such as web uploads, unauthorized email transfers, copying to external drives, and printing. Data discovery and classification are critical components of this process because they ensure that sensitive data can be detected and labeled to achieve the proper level of security.


●    Log and Track Use


It is also critical to keep track of all access and usage information. It enables providers and business partners to monitor which users access data, apps, and other services, when they do so, and from which devices and locations. These logs are helpful for auditing since they enable organizations to identify areas of concern and, if necessary, enhance preventive measures. In the event of an incident, an audit trail can help businesses identify precise access points, determine the cause, and quantify losses.


●    Educate the Medical Staff


The human aspect continues to be one of the most critical security threats in all enterprises, particularly in the healthcare sector. Human error or ignorance can have disastrous and costly consequences for healthcare systems. Security awareness training provides healthcare staff with the knowledge to make informed decisions and handle patient data with care.


●    Restriction of Data and Application Access


Implementing access controls improves the security of healthcare data by restricting access to patient information and specialized apps to those who require it to perform their duties. User authentication is required to ensure that only authorized individuals can access protected data.


●    Secure Mobile Devices


Healthcare practitioners and covered organizations are increasingly using mobile devices for business purposes, whether a physician uses a smartphone to get information to help them treat a patient or an administrative employee processing insurance claims on a mobile device.


●    Perform Regular Risk Evaluation


An audit trail assists in determining the cause and other vital facts of an incident after it has occurred, but proactive prevention is also essential. Regular risk assessments can reveal flaws or vulnerabilities in a healthcare organization’s security, limitations in employee education, gaps in the security posture of vendors and business partners, and other areas of concern.




As the preceding clarifications demonstrate, the privacy and security standards for HIPAA compliance depend not just on a healthcare institution’s actions but also on any ancillary businesses with which it does business and third-party services with which it contracts. In other words, a company’s compliance is determined mainly by its ability to choose and interact with partners who employ similarly rigorous healthcare data protection safeguards. While HIPAA compliance is critical for developing a data security program and avoiding hefty penalties, efforts should go beyond compliance to ensure that sensitive data is protected against today’s threats.



Author Since:  September 20, 2018

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