6 smart steps for staying out of the headlines

  • One of the hottest commodities on the black market today is healthcare data.

  • Healthcare data is valued at fifty times that of credit card data.

  • Institutions must be able to protect all patient PHI data.

We’ve all seen the high-profile security breaches in the news. Retailers, community hospitals, entertainment giants, and others have been sharing the spotlight on this issue. While news of large-scale data vulnerabilities are surprising to some, many in the healthcare industry have made securing protected health information (PHI) a top priority for some time.

After all, healthcare data is now one of the hottest commodities on the black market — valued at fifty times that of credit card data. This makes healthcare security even more crucial for institutions, which must be able to protect all patient PHI data, as stipulated by HIPAA/HITECH regulations as well as state laws. The Office of Civil Rights has also announced audits for 2015.

Preparation is crucial to meet changing security demands. Here are six steps organizations can use to prepare:

1. Implement a security program consisting of people, process and technology to ensure required controls and safeguards are in place and operationally effective.

2. Perform periodic security risk and gap assessments and define and lead action plans for prioritized remediation of vulnerabilities.

3. Collaborate with internal stakeholders and leadership, along with industry peers and solution providers, to identify, roadmap, and implement efficient and effective solutions.

4. Identify all business associates and make sure third-party risk is part of your risk assessment.

5. Train employees to recognize security anomalies.

6. Focus on your breach management programs; remember responding to an incident is as crucial as prevention.

Reported incidents may continue to rise as electronic medical records and consumer-generated data adds vulnerability and complexity to security considerations for the industry. In response, healthcare organizations need to step up their security posture and data breach preparedness in 2015 or face the potential for scrutiny from federal regulators.


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Bindu Sundaresan Strategic Security Solutions Lead AT&T About Bindu