Health IT – Best Practices for PHI Data Security and Selecting the Right Cloud Computing Provider
Cloud computing is a topic that has received a lot of attention in recent months, especially in the field of technology in health care. Cloud computing is becoming increasingly attractive to healthcare organizations, primarily because of the benefits offered by technology, including a weaker IT infrastructure and lower energy costs, scalability, flexibility, and accessibility.
At the same time, cloud computing poses significant potential risks to medical organizations that must protect their patients’ protected medical information or PHI while complying with HIPAA privacy and safety regulations. The increase in the number of reported PHI violations over the past two years, along with HIPAA compliance and PHI data privacy issues, has slowed the adoption of cloud technology into healthcare.
To help healthcare organizations and providers reduce the cloud-related security risks of PHI, consider the following five recommendations when choosing the right cloud service provider:
- Understand the importance of SSL. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a security protocol used by web browsers and servers to help users protect data when transferring. SSL is the standard for establishing a reliable exchange of information on the Internet. SSL offers two services that help address some of the security vulnerabilities in the cloud, including SSL encryption and the setup of a trusted server and domain. Understanding the relationship between SSL and cloud technology will help you understand the importance of open and closed keys and verified credentials. SSL is an integral part of a secure session in the cloud that protects data privacy and integrity.
- Not all SSL are the same. Trust between the healthcare provider and its cloud computing provider should also extend to the cloud security provider. The security of a cloud service provider is as reliable as the security technology it uses. In addition, medical organizations need to make sure that their cloud provider uses an SSL certificate that cannot be compromised.
Recognize additional cloud security issues. There are five specific security risk areas associated with enterprise cloud computing, and medical organizations should consider them when choosing the right cloud computing provider. Five security risks for cloud computing include HIPAA privacy and security, user access rights, data location, user and data monitoring, and user/session reports. For medical organizations and vendors to take advantage of cloud computing without increasing the security risks of PHI and HIPAA compliance, they must select a reliable service provider that can address these and other security issues from the cloud.
- Ensure data is shared and access secure. The risks of data separation are constant with cloud storage. In a traditional customer-hosted IT environment, the organization’s internal IT administrators control the location of the data and the access provided to clinicians and support staff. In a cloud computing environment, the cloud computing provider determines where servers and data are located. While some controls are lost in the cloud, the right SSL implementation can protect sensitive data and access. The medical organization knows that it is on the right track to choose the right cloud provider if it provides the organization with three key elements as part of its cloud hosting solution: encryption, authentication, and certificate validation. Organizations are strongly encouraged to require their cloud provider to use a combination of SSL and servers that support 128-bit session encryption, and to require that the server’s ownership be confirmed first. Data is transferred between servers.
Make sure the cloud service provider understands HIPAA compliance. When a medical organization outsources its IT infrastructure to a cloud computing provider, the organization remains responsible for maintaining HIPAA’s compliance with all privacy and security regulations.
SSL is a proven technology and a cornerstone of cloud computing security. When a medical organization evaluates a cloud computing provider, an organization should consider the security options chosen by that cloud computing provider. Knowing that a cloud provider uses SSL can go a long way to building trust. The right cloud computing provider should use SSL from a reputable, reliable and secure independent certification body. In addition, when choosing a cloud computing provider, medical organizations should clearly explain to their cloud provider how to manage and reduce risk factors beyond SSL.
Medical organizations that effectively conduct comprehensive PHI security checks and HIPAA compliance as part of the cloud service provider selection process are best suited to consolidating IT infrastructure, reducing IT costs, reducing the risk of PHI data leakage, and improving business resilience as a result of implementation. Cloud. This result allows health care providers to focus more of their energy and resources on patients, thereby improving care and outcomes.
Frank J. Rosello is CEO and co-founder of Environmental Intelligence LLC.
Environmental Intelligence LLC is a fully outsourced HEALTHCARE IT company that provides meaningful end-to-end medical workflows, advice, integration and integration into electronic patient maps (EHR), imaging management systems and practice management for private and public health practices and institutions provided by our experienced, physician-focused administrative staff and dedicated HEALTHCARE IT professionals.
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