Since its passing in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA, has made nation-wide headlines. Within the past five years reports have been filed regarding data breaches, some detailing breaches lasting as long as four years. The original goal of the HIPAA was to provide portability when switching in between insurance companies, as people were losing their insurance benefits when switching companies. It aimed to provide security and guard American patient’s protected health information. As of late, however, it has seemingly done the very opposite.
Since 2009, data breaches have been rampant. 2012 was an ample year for security breaches, with nearly 2 million patient records compromised. This not only effects patients, but also burns the health care officials and other related businesses in the middle of the controversy. In a way, this patient data leak is comparable to the recent Heartbleed bug, as it leaked personal, private information of several American citizens. Up to 21 million patient records have been compromised since 2009, and nearly all the victims have taken actions against companies that wronged them. This has resulted in massive lawsuits that have practically demolished certain companies.
Any company that uses electronic correspondence can be at risk of a HIPAA violation. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself. First, consider discontinuing the use of Windows XP systems. Microsoft issued a statement saying they would no longer support Windows XP, and certain applications no longer support it either. Using Windows XP is now considered risky, as it is much easier to break through. Another smart option would be install an industrial strength firewall. This provides additional and powerful security for Broadband Internet connection. External email filtering is another helpful service that is used to sort and organize your emails, including filtering spam messages. This helps get rid of unnecessary risk of viruses from spam messages, and saves you time when sorting and organizing your emails. Outsourcing a service provider can help to save your business both time and money. When outsourcing to an MSP, managed service provider, you will be provided with an extra layer of security. MSP’s provide network-based services that assist in your daily computing tasks. MSP’s can also keep your business up-to-date by using services like cloud computing. Switching to an MSP will provide you with all of the aforementioned security practices, to further ensure you meet all HIPAA requirements. With an MSP in place, clients can be assured that all of their practices are secure and safe in regards to HIPAA. In light of the recent HIPAA violations, many businesses are starting to feel weary about their security practices, and rightfully so. Switching to an MSP is an excellent way toward cyber security, providing assurance to your business.