Protected Health Information with HIPAA-Compliant Backup Technology

Having a secure data backup plan in place is vital for your healthcare business, but are you sure that your data backup and recovery solutions are HIPAA-compliant?  

The flexibility that cloud-based solutions offer for healthcare can add a great deal of value to medical and dental practices as well as other life sciences businesses that store electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). However, the standards that surround healthcare data are stringent — HIPAA-HITECH compliance has strict requirements that providers must follow or face severe penalties. The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) standards were enacted to protect the health and personal information of the public from release to unauthorized individuals, and that includes covering how the data is being stored and accessed throughout its lifecycle. While many cloud storage solutions are now compliant, with millions of dollars in HIPAA violations at stake it’s vital that you receive confirmation that your sensitive health-related data is fully covered.

HIPAA Data Backup and Cloud Storage Requirements

There are three primary safeguards to consider for your HIPAA-compliant data backup and storage: administrative, physical and technical safeguards. Your cloud services provider should be able to speak in detail to each of these requirements and reassure you that their solutions are fully compliant with these vital government standards.

  • Administrative standards cover everything from how password security is administered to handling disaster recovery and emergency responses. This should include a full risk assessment of the solution, with documentation updated regularly.
  • Physical standards are utilized to ensure the physical solutions required for data storage — servers, power delivery devices and more — are fully protected at the data storage location. These standards even detail exactly how deprecated media should be safely discarded to ensure it cannot be mined for personal information.
  • Technical standards define the specifics that individuals use to access their data, such as login and logoff procedures, password requirements and the definition of exactly who is able to access specific information.

These are only a few of the high-level standards that cloud-based data services providers must have in place to be HIPAA-HITECH compliant with their data storage solutions.

Shared Responsibility for Data Backup Compliance

Healthcare organizations need to know that data is protected, but the encryption can happen at a variety of different locations. Approximately 82% of data is encrypted while in transit, while 9% of that data is encrypted once the data comes to rest. The other small percentage is left to customer-managed encryption keys. This can put a significant burden at the feet of the customer to ensure that their data is fully encrypted, but there is a great deal of shared responsibility throughout the lifecycle of the data storage and transit process. Be sure to stay protected by having your business services provider adhere to all standards for cybersecurity protection as well as the government-regulated HITECH standards. This shared responsibility can be important in the event of a significant data breach or other incidents because they can be extremely costly — often more than a single organization can bear and maintain fluid operations.

Protecting your sensitive data from unauthorized access is our top priority, and you need to trust that your IT services provider can handle the task. At SMB Integrations, we are Houston’s #1 IT solutions provider because we make the extra effort to make your technology solutions work smoothly — every time. We have been simplifying technology solutions for healthcare providers and life sciences businesses for years, and you can schedule your free initial consultation today by calling 832-263-3739 or via email to sales@smbintegrations.com. Don’t trust your sensitive healthcare data storage to anyone else!