Monthly Archives: January 2016

Why Should You Be HIPAA Compliant?

HIPAA, otherwise known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, sets certain standards for how you handle and safeguard patient data. If you are in the healthcare business, you are required by law to be in compliance. But what does that mean exactly and why is it important? Let’s examine compliance a little closer so you can understand why it is a must for your business.

What It Means to Be HIPAA Compliant

There are many elements that make up the security standards set forth by HIPAA. In order to be compliant, you must meet all of them and continue to evaluate your systems as you move forward.

Safeguards

There are two main types of safeguards that you have to put in place: physical safeguards and technical safeguards.

Physical safeguards cover anything physical, including limited access to the facility and strict controls on who gets access. These safeguards also extend to any company you are working with that has access to your facility and the electronic storage media you use as well.

Technical safeguards cover who, what, and how people access and use the health data stored on your servers. This includes various aspects of security such as unique user IDs, emergency access policies, automatic log off policies, and encryption and decryption methods and usage.

Network and Transmission Security

One of the latest safeguards put in place by HIPAA is network and transmission security. These regulations cover how you transmit data and govern everything associated with that data, including email, file transmissions, Internet, and more. These policies not only dictate how you handle transmissions from one network to another, but even how data is handled on private networks as well.

Technical Policies

These policies include how you handle data and media in your organization. Set procedures and plans must be put in place for things such as disaster recovery and offsite backups, and even include how IT will handle any media failures to ensure the integrity of patient data and the policies you will use to quickly retrieve that data if needed.

Rule Enforcement

In addition to your security policies, you must put in place procedures to follow to enforce the new rules put in place and include the penalties that can be incurred if employees do not adhere to the standards and procedures to the letter. You must also continue to enforce these rules as you move forward.

Breach Notification

HIPAA extends far beyond what you would consider traditional security. In order to be HIPAA compliant, you will need to put in place set policies and procedures to follow if there is a data breach. These policies include how you notify any affected parties.

So Why Try to Be Compliant?

Why bother agreeing to these complicated regulations just to reach compliance? The quick answer is that compliance is the law! If you are dealing with anything healthcare related, including patient records, you must be compliant in order to conduct business. Second, compliance can be a huge selling point for your business, even you don’t deal with healthcare data today. Security has become an increasing concern among both businesses and individuals, and if you meet the government standards for security, you will be able to advertise that to your customers.

Conclusion

HIPAA compliance is complicated yet must be followed and adhered to by any business or individual that handles healthcare data. The more familiar you become with these regulations, the less likely you are to fall out of compliance. As complicated as HIPAA is, there are benefits. Not only will your business be more secure,  it will meet important government standards that safeguard sensitive data. That’s peace of mind to your security-minded customers.

The Nuances of Cloud Computing

The cloud has already changed the way data is stored, and while cloud storage is the most common feature of cloud computing, it is by no means the only, or the most innovative aspect of this digital resource. Here’s a look at cloud computing and what it can do.

Storage and Computation
The cloud does a lot more than you might think. For instance, cloud computing is used for gaming, especially by Microsoft in regards to the Xbox One console. While the cloud is great for data storage, it can also be used for computing tasks via the Internet. The Xbox One may boast some pearly specs, but what makes it truly powerful is that it can outsource some of the computations to the cloud which in turn allows the console to deliver better graphics, a higher frame rate, and increased bandwidth.

Another benefit of the cloud is that it’s cost effective. If you use it primarily for storage, the amount of storage you get for the cost is the best deal on the market. If you were to buy external hardware for data storage, for instance, it would be a far larger investment.

The flexibility the cloud provides is its biggest benefit. Access extra computing power or any data anywhere you are. Whether your work requires travel, or you find yourself most productive out of the office, the cloud works for you.

Storage Encryption
When data is stored in the cloud it is encrypted at the point of travel and while at rest within the cloud’s physical data center. When the data arrives at its destination an integrity check is applied that compares the data sent to the data received. This weeds out any anomalies or potential tampering that may have occurred in transit. However, the true security is the cyber perimeter, hosts, and applications. While in-transit data is a concern, data centers are big targets for potential cyber threats. Sophisticated data center operations help ensure that your data is secure regardless of the type of threat its exposed to.

The Cloud and Businesses
The cloud has changed businesses forever. Boiled down, the cloud is a cost-saving technology. It is an easy way for businesses to share information, projects, and resources with employees, clients, and customers.

Not only has the cloud made the cost of operations lower, it has also made it easier to start a business. This has led to a influx of startups and entrepreneurship around the world. Small companies can share collective infrastructure costs in the form of  subscription-based cloud services, such as Mozy by EMC. Small businesses are no longer tasked with a grand initial investment in terms of computing infrastructure, which promotes creativity in terms of new startups.

Mobile workforces have become common. A central office is no longer needed for businesses, especially small ones, which cuts costs even further because the cloud can be accessed by employees anywhere. Quite simply, cloud computing has changed where and how people work in profound ways.

What do you want in 2016?

It’s 2016. That’s right, another new year is here. If you’re like most people, you probably feel obligated to come up with a resolution or two. You can do that by quickly analyzing the past year, determining what you did well, admitting what you didn’t do well, and then deciding what you would like to accomplish this year.

At this point, you probably should be asking yourself two questions:

  1. Do I want to change?
  2. How do I want to change?

Let’s start with the first question: Do I want to change? If the answer is yes, then move on to the second question, How do I want to change? If the answer is no, then do nothing. Just keep on doing what you’re doing. Face life as it comes at you. Nothing wrong with that.

Answering the second question requires some courage because if you’re being honest about where you are in life, you’re going to have to admit that you’re doing some things well and other things not so well. Or maybe you’re not doing them at all.

You probably already know what you’re doing well. Usually, those are the things you do with confidence and with endless energy and lots of enthusiasm. On the other hand, the things you aren’t doing so well aren’t always so apparent. This is where a good friend comes in handy. If you want to know what you aren’t doing so well, just ask a friend. But be prepared because you might not like the answer. And your good friend (at least for now) might even take things to the next level by telling you what you’re not doing at all but should be doing.

If after asking your friend what you need to work on convinces you that he or she is right, then take some quiet time to reflect on how you can make improvements. In some cases all it might take is a minor adjustment or two. Sometimes just being aware of what you’re not doing well or what you could be doing is motivation enough to get you to do it.

Answering the question “How do I want to change?” requires courage because you have to do more than just face life as it comes at you. You’re not just reacting to life. Instead, acknowledging that you want to or need to change requires action. Action is a verb. You’re deciding what’s important to you and you’re going to do something about it—now. In simple terms, you’re deciding that you want to get from point A to point B. So you come up with a plan. The outcome is important enough to you that you’re committed to that plan regardless of the challenges or the unexpected. You’re going to succeed! You’re going to make 2016 a great year!

From all of us at Mozy, best wishes to you in 2016. Your future is as bright as your commitment to make the changes you decide you want to make.

When Old Tech Becomes New Tech

Every few years we are forced to upgrade the devices that are so much a part of our everyday lives. In fact, we explored the limited lifespan of technology in a recent blog post. For example, the resolution on your new camera soon becomes grainy when compared to what’s available just months after you’ve made your purchase. Smartphone operating system upgrades soon make it impossible to run the apps that you so love. That 42” TV just doesn’t show your football game like the new 80” 4K Ultra HD that stares you down every time you hit the electronics section of your favorite store.

The rapid advance in technology is causing a glut in tech devices such as computers, mobile devices, camcorders, game systems, computer hardware, and video players. In 2014 the world produced 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste. To put that in perspective, that amount of garbage would fill 1.15 million 18-wheel trucks. If you lined up those trucks they would stretch from New York to Tokyo and back again! The EPA estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled and the rest goes to the landfill. Once the materials in the computers start to break down or are incinerated, they release a variety of toxins that are harmful to the environment as well as to humans. Unfortunately, a lot of that e-waste could have been recycled, up-cycled, or useful to someone else.

I found out that I am part of the 68% of consumers who are stockpiling old devices for no reason. For starters, I have an old iMac G5, a ‘90’s Compaq computer, and a handful of phones and mp3 players. You can probably relate. So it’s time we start doing something about the problem! It’s time we stop dumping them and adding to the fastest-growing source of waste; instead, we can save time, space, and money by properly “disposing” of out-of-date devices.

There are many local organizations that would love your old tech; for example, schools and low-income members of the community. And your donations are tax deductible. If you don’t want to spend the time to find a taker, there are organizations that will pick up your items, refurbish them, and donate them to someone in need. human-I-T is one organization in particular and is a non-profit that transforms unwanted or inoperative technology and makes it operational again for those in need. Consumers as well as companies like LinkedIn, Google, and Cars.com have all reduced e-waste and benefited the community by donating technology to human-I-T.

If you are worried about the data on the device, organizations that refurbish outdated technology follow strict guidelines on removing data from devices so that it can no longer be accessed. This process follows guidelines specified by such laws as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Your old tech can find new life with low-income families, veterans, those with disabilities, and schools and organizations. Consider that in 2014 human-I-T was able to divert more than 15 tons of e-waste from landfills. But even more importantly, what was once considered waste was turned into tools to help kids to stay current in their studies and the unemployed to find jobs.

Source;
https://www.causesinternational.com/ewaste/e-waste-facts