How to Prevent a HIPAA Breach
A HIPAA breach can leak patient information to hackers who plan to use the data to commit crimes like identity theft. HIPAA breaches also put your organization at risk. Once a breach happens, you could face fines and people might lose faith in your brand. You can’t eliminate every risk of a HIPAA issue, but you can take several steps to make it less likely. The following advice will help in how to prevent a HIPAA breach through improved cybersecurity.
Update Your Security Risk Assessment Tool
HIPAA rules require you to use a security risk assessment (SRA) tool designed to protect patient files. Make sure you have the latest version to secure your system. The most recent version of the SRA will also offer features that make it easier for you to:
- Generate detailed security reports.
- See your threats and vulnerability rating.
- Track your progress toward HIPAA compliance.
You don’t have to pay for the SRA tool. Download and install it to discover ways that you can improve your cybersecurity and prevent HIPAA breaches.
Encrypt Your Data, Files, and Folders
Encrypting all of your data, files, and folders will make it harder for hackers to steal information from your system. Often, criminals who manage to break into your network will leave once they see encryption at every level. They would rather focus on an easy target than try to access your well-protected data.
Encryption works best when you use it globally. For example, if you only encrypt patient files, hackers will know that those files hold useful information.
Know How Your Vendors Secure Data
Third-party vendors that have access to your network or applications could create entry points for hackers. If someone with poor security has access to your system, you put yourself at significant risk.
Have your vendors file reports showing their approaches to cybersecurity. If they do not meet HIPAA requirements, ask them to update their security protocols.
Train Employees to Report Phishing Attempts
Malware attacks often start with phishing attempts that trick employees into downloading malicious files to their devices. Train your employees to recognize the common signs of a phishing attempt, such as:
- Spoofed email addresses.
- Odd, urgent requests from their managers or executives.
- Websites that redirect them to other pages.
- Emails that encourage them to download files.
Employee training should teach them how to recognize and report phishing attempts, but it should also test them in real-world situations to see how they will react. Randomly send emails that look like phishing attempts to see whether your employees report them to managers. Testing will help you determine the effectiveness of your training.
Take malware seriously. Healthcare providers often feel forced to pay ransoms to regain access to their patient files. Unfortunately, paying ransoms gives criminals more incentive to keep using malware against hospitals and other healthcare providers.
Seek Help When You Need It
Do you need help in how to prevent a HIPAA breach? CPI Solutions has a team of healthcare IT professionals experienced in network security and data backups. Contact us to learn more about protecting your organization and patients.