Can your business afford a $1.5 Million fine; how about just $100K? Leave your sensitive health information vulnerable and you could be looking at a similarly costly HIPAA violation.
Fortunately, cloud providers like CoreSpace offer a litany of safeguards to ensure your business remains HIPAA compliant.
You’ve heard us talk about the benefits of colocating before. Between their 24x7 monitoring, and the amount of capital you can save outsourcing your IT infrastructure, these cooling, power and redundancy-ready spaces can be a godsend for the budget conscious.
However when it comes to healthcare, businesses need to be choosey. Not all HIPAA cloud providers are created equal. Here are some non-negotiables you need to ensure cloud providers can offer true HIPAA compliant application and ePHI storage security.
Specific HIPAA Compliance Processes
- Auditable environment- In a compliance audit, anything that makes the auditor’s job easier is a huge boon. It can mean the difference between you getting off unscathed and paying a huge fine. Any HIPAA compliant hosting provider you’re considering should facilitate necessary risk assessments of the physical and hosting environment (such as private cloud infrastructures). In short, anything that houses critical systems that regulate the confidentiality and accessibility of customer-sensitive ePHI should be airtight.
- Healthcare Experience- It may sound elementary, however, it is critical to ensure your HIPAA cloud provider has previous experience dealing with the nuances of the healthcare industry. At minimum, this should include having a qualified HIPAA compliance officer onsite. As an alternative, they may designate another HIPAA experienced official who is charged with maintaining HIPAA compliance. Make sure these and other key roles have their responsibilities clearly defined in your business associate agreement (BAA).
HIPAA Security Training
- Ongoing Security Awareness – In an industry like healthcare where things are constantly influx, HIPAA compliance requires continuous maintenance and process updates. Ongoing security awareness training is the only way to keep IT staff abreast of the critical ePHI systems that are responsible for storing sensitive patient information.
- Documentable Security Program- Any HIPAA compliant cloud storage provider worth their weight in salt will be able to demonstrate a structured, well-designed security program. Ask how often these policies are reviewed and evolved. If a potential provider can’t clearly show continual updates, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep up with changing HIPAA guidelines.
Additional Safeguards and Continuity Standards
- Data Safeguards- It’s common knowledge that you should backup your sensitive files. That goes double when it comes to HIPAA compliance. Securing offsite backups, in a HIPAA compliant colocation for example, is critical to solidifying data security. It’s the only way to truly prevent essential data loss from breaches like data theft or a natural disaster.
- Disaster Recovery- In the event of unexpected downtime, you can avoid a complete stop in your business with implementable disaster recovery or business continuity solutions. Once a disaster hits it’s too late start planning. Get ahead by seeking out a cloud service provider with a redundant, secure and compliant facility. This will insulate you from the vulnerability of having your information stored in one central location.
Ultimately, quality HIPAA cloud providers must be vetted. When done right, they ensure that your sensitive data is rendered unusable and unreadable unless specifically authorized. They also save you the headache and worry associated with the astronomical costs of HIPAA non-compliance. In the end you’ll be glad you put down a little money upfront to protect your business.