Healthcare

How to Secure Healthcare Files in 2019

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In modern health care, there are many reasons for very large files to be stored and sent from person to person. A growing trend is centrally located diagnostic specialists serving multiple clinics. This means image files must be moved from place to place with increasing frequency. These files must be moved and stored securely.

Fortunately for health care IT pros, there are:

  • Regulations to provide minimum expectations of what "secure" means

  • Models from other industries on techniques and technologies for protecting very large files

The road to protection starts with the security devices in place for the network.

The filtering layer

Like in every other industry, you start with standard security devices and practices. However, in healthcare an additional layer is necessary, a layer that examines file types and allows or disallows transit based on explicit permissions attached to user credentials. This additional layer of security is a filter that stops files rather than try to stop accounts. It can protect files based on:

  • Type

  • Contents (looking for certain patterns of information, such as digits arranged the way they are in credit-card numbers)

  • Allowable origination or destination addresses

Where care must be taken, though, is in the file sizes these filters can screen out and block.

The large file problem

Some security devices, especially those that guard the perimeter by looking at the contents of entire files, are limited in just how large a file they can inspect and protect. When looking at new systems, make sure to ask very pointed questions to ensure the filtering capabilities of the system you choose will adequately filter out the files you want blocked.

The VDI solution

There is another approach that some organizations have adopted, one that doesn't require moving files from system to system. A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) moves display information, but not files. Sensitive files are left on a single server, where they are easier to protect.

In a VDI scenario, the hardware emphasis shifts from additional layers of perimeter protection to server capabilities and capacities.

Critical server components

Two critical components of the server for these huge files displayed on VDI are the storage and the display adapter.

  1. The storage subsystem will be designed like that of an online analytics processor system, optimized for rapid reads and large data transfers.

  2. The display subsystem must be able to render large files with high resolution and great speed. (This will need to be matched on the workstation end by a graphics adapter that can render the virtual desktop display containing the file at equal resolution.)

Large files can be protected if all standard network and server security protocols are observed, and content filtering is added as a layer of system protection. Health care organizations also should look seriously at VDI for the benefits that come with not moving large files at all. Leaving these files behind inside a secure perimeter can be very comforting when hackers strike. Current Technologies has helped many healthcare organizations across Illinois and the Midwest find and implement the best solution for their business, and can do the same for yours!

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Storing Medical Data in the Cloud

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From doctor-patient confidentiality to insurance non-disclosure agreements, we do all we can to ensure our medical data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands—and for some healthcare organizations, this makes the idea of storing such data in the cloud quite alarming. Though the cloud promises to reduce costs and streamline records management, it’s all too often (and wrongly) associated with the specter of cybercrime and other security breaches. Fortunately, it’s much safer than you might think.

A slow revolution

In 2011, only 4% of healthcare providers had moved to the cloud. Adoption rates have since skyrocketed to over 70%. However, it appears that some in the industry are still reluctant to make the leap, and the main concern among detractors appears to be the possibility of a security breach.

However, when it comes to sensitive data, a security breach isn’t the only thing you have to worry about—data might also be lost as the result of a physical event, like a fire or flood. When keeping your data in the cloud, it is being secured by IT professionals at groups like Microsoft and Google, whose only job it to secure your data. In other words, storing data in the cloud might be the safest option available.

Meeting industry standards with HIPAA

The good news is that you no longer have to determine for yourself whether or not a cloud provider is able to protect sensitive medical data. In 2013, the federal government expanded the privacy and security protections established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) so that they now apply to electronic health records. The act outlines strict procedures for storing such records using data encryption and destruction. It also imposes significant penalties on non-compliant organizations.

From the clinic to the cloud

When a healthcare organization decides to move to the cloud, it should check that its cloud provider is HIPAA compliant. The U.S. Department of Health doesn’t itself authorize any HIPAA certification programs. However, cloud providers can voluntarily undergo an audit that takes into account the HIPPA Audit Protocols. If they pass, you can be confident that they’re capable of storing your data in a safe and secure environment—which means that the prognosis for your organization’s medical records is very good indeed.

Current Technologies is here for all your data storage needs

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