IT Security and HIPAA Compliance

Access to valuable analytics derived from confidential data about health patients is one of the many benefits of cloud computing. It can be very expensive, however, to be found noncompliant in regard to requirements for protecting confidential online data. HIPAA compliance in particular means that certain national minimum-security standards have been met in regard to the handling of health information, though only certain entities are required to be HIPAA compliant, even if they gather health data.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Its purpose as regards health data is the “accountability” portion of HIPAA, which is to protect its confidentiality, integrity, and availability. HIPAA standards only apply to covered entities and their business associates but only if the health data is electronically transmitted in connection with covered transactions.

Are Health Records Highly Vulnerable to Hackers?

It’s obvious that details about credit cards, social security numbers, and bank accounts have appeal to hackers seeking to gain wealth with stolen data. The information may be less valuable than you think, with social security numbers going for 10 cents and credit cards going for 25 cents each on the black market. Health records, on the other hand, can be worth hundreds to many thousands of dollars. Entire life histories are often found in medical files, including details about the diseases and surgeries a patient has had.

In addition to facing potential public humiliation, individuals can be blackmailed with health information to avoid political assassination.

The Cost of HIPAA Noncompliance

Companies required to be HIPAA compliant have an obligation to provide adequate cloud security. The average penalties for HIPAA compliance breaches add up to $1.5 million per violation. HIPAA compliance solutions from managed service providers (MSSPs) are usually affordable to businesses of all sizes. Ensuring that you have adequate security can make it worthwhile to leverage health data for a wide variety of business purposes.

Contact UTSI to get peace of mind knowing your business is HIPAA compliant.