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Protecting Patient Information While Working Virtually

Protecting Patient Information While Working Virtually

Cyber attacks are an unfortunate reality that all organizations must contend with. For those in the healthcare field, it’s of the utmost importance to meet all HIPAA compliance regulations while safeguarding critical protected health information (PHI).

Remote work presents a long list of challenges for doctors, healthcare professionals, and staff, which is why Thrive works to provide an actionable cyber security plan that considers two important components – CybeRTO and CybeRPO. Ensuring all staff can work remotely while mitigating security breach risks is imperative to protecting the long-term success of any healthcare organization.

Are you doing enough to defend your organization from HIPAA violations while providing a remote work setup? CyberRTO and CybeRPO should be important considerations in any cyber security continuity plan, especially in healthcare.

HIPAA Compliance: An Evolving Process

Within the healthcare industry, inherent risks exist that other industries and organizations may not face – so often, end users are the ones who must have a close eye on compliance regulations and policies. It’s important to limit access to only those who need it. PHI should only be seen by members who need it to complete their work, and HIPAA-compliant applications and tools should be used to protect patient privacy.

Encryption is an important part of any work-from-home policy for healthcare organizations. Wireless routers, email, and devices should be configured in a manner to protect valuable patient information. For instance, Microsoft 365 comes with the option of data loss prevention (DLP), which is capable of screening emails for PHI, encrypting any email that may contain personal information.

Disabling of removable media storage should be done as well. If PHI is on a device, USB drives and portable media drives shouldn’t be able to transfer data off the computer’s hard drive.

The Thrive team can help implement a HIPAA-compliant process as technologies and data needs continue to evolve within the organization.

Cyber Attack Preparation: Putting a Plan in Place

CybeRTO and CybeRPO represent security response times and the recovery of data in the event of a breach or cyber attack. Together, they define just how much time and data loss a healthcare organization can afford.

CybeRTO refers to how long it takes to respond to a threat, and could be something as simple as patching a vulnerability before an incident occurs or something as complicated as reacting to a cyber event. It also takes into account how long it will take to recover from an attack that has affected the work environment.

On the other hand, CybeRPO refers to the data that could be lost in a cyber attack, and how much data would be exposed. In the case of the healthcare industry, that could mean the loss of PHI and having to respond to HIPAA compliance issues.

Thrive designs solutions capable of backing up data when you want it backed up – whether that’s in real time as files or servers, or hourly, daily, or weekly. We recommend real-time Cloud backup, giving end users the ability to easily access files they need if a disruption occurs.

As you create your continuity plan, keep in mind the CybeRTO and CybeRPO requirements, especially in this work-from-home era. Contact the Thrive team for more information about protecting your end users (and patients) while working virtually.