Monthly Archives: April 2017

Without cloud backup, customer would have experienced a data disaster

Our job is to back up and protect your data. But that’s not the whole story. We strive to provide the best customer support and do all within our power to ensure that our customers have the absolute best experience with Mozy as possible. And in some ways, the best experience you can have is to forget that we’re backing up your data. After all, Mozy backup is automatic. No-worry, hassle-free backups that you schedule based on your needs.

Of course, we’re always pleased to hear from our customers, whether it’s to tell us why they love using Mozy by Dell, or even to let us know how we can improve their experience with our software and service.

Recently we received the following unsolicited email from one of our customers. We’re sharing it because (1) we’re proud of what we do for our customers, and (2) we’re both humbled and delighted when Mozy can save the day by helping a customer avoid a data disaster.

“Within the past few months, we have had a couple of emergencies that necessitated a restore of files that were located on our company’s main storage server. One of these emergencies was a ransomware virus that, had we not had automatic, off-site backup, would have resulted in disaster. The customer service representatives at Mozy worked with me throughout the restore process, and even after, to make certain that the needed files were never truly in any danger. They made sure that the Mozy backup software was set up just right going forward to see to it that we would be up and running in no time should a similar emergency occur again. I cannot recommend Mozy software, or its employees, highly enough.” 
—Jeff Garfinkel, Reliant Health Care Services

Thanks, Jeff, for your email. We are pleased to have you as a Mozy customer!

Jeff is one of our many customers and one of many we’ve heard from since our humble beginnings. We’ve been backing up our customers’ data since 2005. Today we back up and protect mission-critical data for more than 6 million users. We also back up more than 100,000 businesses and 1,000 enterprise customers.

Check out what our customers say about us in these Mozy testimonials.

To each of our customers, thank you for using Mozy by Dell!

The Healthcare Cloud for Data Breach Prevention and HIPAA Compliance

Note: This is blog 4 of 4 in our HIPAA series.

A wave of breaches in 2016 exposed vulnerabilities at the heart of the healthcare system. This resulted in a new sense of urgency for data security in the industry. Breaches can happen when devices connected to healthcare data aren’t protected, when employees aren’t properly trained, or when data isn’t encrypted or segregated to make it less accessible.

HIPAA compliance is the fundamental building block of better data security for the healthcare industry. This legislation, signed into law during the 1990s and later updated in 2009, provides requirements regarding the confidentiality and privacy of protected health information, or PHI. Of course, it only works if healthcare institutions follow the law and regulations, and implement a compliance program designed to protect the safety of PHI.

The nature and sophistication of cloud computing has the power to revolutionize healthcare and HIPAA compliance. By its very nature, it offers ease of access to patients and healthcare providers, slashes costs for IT departments and improves data security.

Always-on access

HIPAA entitles everyone to access their complete medical record. A cloud environment for a healthcare provider can offer 24/7 access to records, something that’s expected in today’s tech-connected environment.

Many providers offer some form of a patient portal where patients can securely sign on from anywhere. These portals vary in capabilities; some are limited to medical records, while others allow for patient-physician communication and appointment scheduling. The portal should maintain all the security features needed to remain HIPAA compliant.

Slashing costs

Costs can drop dramatically with cloud adoption because cloud computing providers can tailor to health care institutions’ needs and scale up and down with the ebb and flow of their business. This reduces capital expenditure in IT and cuts the salary costs of an IT department. The system changes from being capital-intensive to a pay-as-you-go model that prioritizes agility and scalability over large-scale infrastructure.

If a physician or hospital had their own in-house servers, they’d not only have to pay the initial costs to purchase, but also for maintenance and security. Even then, it is unlikely that their security would be as robust as a cloud solution.

Security

Data security is a critical factor for all cloud service providers, and is a major concern for the healthcare industry. A private cloud with segmented data and limit access is ideal for this purpose. It can handle processes like registration, billing, scheduling and customer feedback, and is a good way to begin a migration to the cloud while the healthcare provider and the cloud company build trust together.

There are many benefits of migrating to the cloud—first-class hardware, sophisticated software resources, and IT professionals. Using a cloud service provider like Mozy by Dell will help healthcare providers in their efforts to safeguard against data breaches, comply with HIPAA, and keep costs under control so that they can focus on delivering health services.

Put a Stop to the Key Data Breach Culprits

Note: This is blog 3 of 4 in our HIPAA series.

During 2016, there were 377 health care data breaches in the U.S., according to ITRC. Between 2012 and 2016, there was an increase in frequency (50 percent), severity (50 percent) and number of records exposed (69 percent). In a single breach of Quest Diagnostics in November 2016, 34,000 people were affected. The threat is escalating all the time and what these statistics point to is the vital role the Omnibus Rule must play around the issues of privacy, security and enforcement under the Health Information Technology Act.

The Omnibus Rule seeks to recognize and deal with the increased threats posed to health care data. Hackers are no longer only nefarious individuals looking to make a quick buck. They’re sophisticated criminal operations with vast resources, capable of doing tremendous damage.

Medical records are valuable to hackers and can be sold for up to 50 times more than stolen credit card numbers because they can be used for insurance fraud, to obtain false prescriptions, as well as extortion and simple identity theft.

Steps to implement

Historically, the health care industry has lagged behind in terms of safeguarding sensitive information. Here are steps that should be implemented immediately:

Employee education

In almost every case, a breach begins with a person who has legitimate access to a system sharing that information, knowingly or unknowingly with a hacker. Through neglect or carelessness, employees often share vital information unwittingly. Educate staff about the ways credentials can be stolen and limit how much data any one staff member can access.

Basic training for new hires goes a long way—annual updates on phishing techniques and other Internet scams make employees more security conscious.

In an all-too-common scenario, employees make mistakes and lose data, or they file things in the wrong place. This sets them up as easy targets for hackers who know where to look. It’s vital that you know where your data is stored and that it is where it’s supposed to be. Isolate your most sensitive data and have additional controls and limited access to it.

Software controls

In a medical environment, any device that goes online is vulnerable and a potential gateway. Laptops, desktops, mobiles and iPads all need antivirus, antimalware and encryption software installed. And just as important, such software must be updated regularly to ensure that your data is being safeguarded with the latest security measures.

Access

If possible, medical institutions should separate guest wireless networks from primary networks, and web filters can be added to restrict widespread Internet roaming on the primary network. Businesses should think about isolating and segmenting data access, ensuring that only those with proper credentials and a need to know can access sensitive and/or electronic personal healthcare data.

The value of the cloud

Companies are using the cloud for both efficiency and security purposes. The National Kidney Registry (NKR) took the decision to outsource their data management and security to a cloud provider with the experience and the resources to safeguard their data. NKR director of Education and Development Joe Sinacore explained to HealthITSecurity: “I want the people who have a vested interest in not just protecting my business, but everybody’s business and their own reputation. Seeing all of the resources that they put in on this, I don’t know how you can do it any better than that.”

No system is impenetrable and breaches can and do happen. But knowing where your data resides and who has access to it can help you respond effectively should a breach occur. Be sure to choose a cloud service provider that understands your business. As required by HIPAA, Mozy by Dell offers appropriate safeguards—including those for encryption, password restrictions, and data storage—to help you protect and secure the electronic health information you work with and store.

Next up: The Healthcare Cloud for Data Breach Prevention and HIPAA Compliance

Cloud Computing and Healthcare: Understanding the HIPAA Omnibus Rule

Note: This is blog 2 of 4 in our HIPAA series.

Now that you’re equipped with a basic understanding of HIPAA provisions, and how they apply to Covered Entities (CEs) and Business Associates (BAs), it’s time to dig deeper and look at some of the most important changes to this legislation during the last few years. The Omnibus Rule is the most relevant to health care because it governs, at least in part, the way health agencies leverage and interact with cloud computing services.

HIPAA highlights

Before diving into HIPAA changes and cloud compliance highlights, here’s a refresh: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was adopted in 1996 and lays out specific regulations for companies that handle electronic protected health information (ePHI). Critically, these companies are responsible for keeping records of all disclosures of PHI, encrypting all PHI, and meeting other HIPAA security standards. Failure to comply—even through ignorance—can result in a $50,000 fine for the first offense and $1.5 million for the same offense in a calendar year.

Changing conditions

Think of HIPAA like a living piece of legislation that is constantly being assessed and modified to fit current needs. As a result, changes have emerged in recent years which impact both first-party health agencies and third-party providers.

According to HIPAA Journal, the Security Rule as revised in 2013 lays out specific administrative, physical, and technical safeguards that must be in place to ensure data security. These include Business Associate Agreements (BAAs) with third parties who access PHI, controls for devices and media used to store ePHI, and limits on who can remotely access ePHI. In addition, the impermissible use or disclosure of protected health information (that is, a violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule) is presumed to be a breach unless the CE or BA, as applicable, demonstrates that there is a low probability that the protected health information has been compromised, such as through the use of strong encryption.

The new rules that became effective in 2013 also included changes such as:

   •     Expanded patient rights to request copies of their ePHI in electronic form.
   •     Prohibited the sale of health information for marketing or fundraising without patient permission.
   •     Introduced risk assessment methodology to determine the probability of ePHI compromise.

More recently, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released guidance on the applicability of HIPAA to cloud service providers (CSP). As noted by Becker Hospital Review, any CSP engaged by a CE to host ePHI becomes a BA by default, meaning they need to sign a BAA to comply with HIPAA’s requirements for BAs. CSPs must comply with certain breach notification requirements if their network is breached and results in unauthorized access to unencrypted ePHI, which includes prompt warning to the CE that their information may have been compromised.

 

Safe haven?

It’s important to note that cloud computing is not a “safe haven” from HIPAA compliance. If CEs permit CSPs to host or back up ePHI data without the proper agreements and precautions in place, both the CE and CSP could face Office for Civil Rights audits and fines for failing to comply with HIPAA regulations.

HIPAA continues to evolve as technology advances and new cybersecurity threats emerge. Although cloud computing is now a viable way to store and transmit ePHI, CEs and CSPs must take precautions to ensure HIPAA compliance. As required by HIPAA, Mozy by Dell offers appropriate safeguards—including those for encryption, password restrictions, and data storage—to help you protect and secure the electronic health information you work with and store.

Up next: Key causes of a health data breach. Find out how your CE can both detect new threats and safeguard patient information.

What is HIPAA compliance?

Note: This is blog 1 of 4 in our HIPAA series.

With identity theft on the rise, HIPAA compliance is becoming more vital than ever for businesses in the healthcare industry. The costs of violating HIPAA continue to increase; HIPAA non-compliance penalties went from $6.1 million in 2015 to $23.5 million in 2016. Experts predict they will continue to increase in 2017.

To assist with HIPAA compliance and to help protect against potential liabilities, the healthcare industry has been turning to the cloud for better security. In this first part of a four-part series, we’ll explore how the cloud is helping healthcare companies better address compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule.

How cloud computing plays a role in healthcare

The backstory to the healthcare industry’s HIPAA compliance strategy is healthcare’s migration to the cloud. The global cloud computing healthcare market stood at $4.5 billion at the end of 2016, and is on track to rise to nearly $6.8 billion by the end of 2018, according to projections by Transparency Market Research. Disaster recovery, data storage, and mobile health are the three biggest application needs driving healthcare’s cloud migration, according to TechTarget research.

The cloud’s ability to provide automated remote virtual backups makes it ideal for disaster recovery, enabling healthcare companies to have a secure backup offsite in the event of an on-site emergency. Meanwhile, the cloud’s scalability makes it suitable for storing the huge amounts of data that healthcare providers must manage. And the cloud’s connectivity to mobile devices makes it a perfect tool for delivering healthcare solutions to mobile device users.

What HIPAA compliance is all about

In conjunction with these applications, the healthcare industry is also using the cloud as a tool for HIPAA security compliance. The Health Insurance and Portability Accountability Act of 1996 established national privacy and security standards to protect healthcare patients. HIPAA’s Privacy Rule regulates standards for maintaining the confidentiality of certain healthcare information.

HIPAA’s Security Rule puts these privacy standards into effect by regulating standards for protecting health information stored in electronic form, known as electronic protected health information (e-PHI). HIPAA requires healthcare providers to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI they handle; to take reasonable steps to safeguard against anticipated security threats; to protect against impermissible uses or disclosures of information; and to ensure compliance by their workforce.

How HIPAA fits into the healthcare cloud

For companies seeking to comply with HIPAA’s security provision, the healthcare cloud serves as an improvement upon the security afforded by traditional on-premises data storage. Traditional on-premises storage is restricted by the space limitations of in-house IT equipment, which becomes impractical when terabytes of data are involved. On-site servers are also vulnerable to data loss if they become compromised or damaged in a disaster. On-premise servers further depend on in-house IT security teams, who typically handle security as part of a host of other IT duties.

Cloud servers address these disadvantages. Cloud usage can be scaled up to accommodate any amount of data, even if it overflows the capacity of in-house servers. Cloud servers are stored off-site where data is automatically backed up in multiple locations, so that a data hack or on-site disaster will not result in data loss. And cloud providers have full-time dedicated security specialists, alleviating healthcare providers of the need to rely solely on in-house IT teams for security.

An invaluable tool

As the healthcare industry migrates to the cloud, healthcare companies are finding the cloud an invaluable tool in their efforts to meet HIPAA compliance standards. The cloud makes it easier for healthcare companies to store large amounts of data, to back up stored data, and to keep stored data secure. We’ll explore how the cloud helps healthcare companies in their efforts to comply with a specific HIPAA provision in the next article in this series: Cloud Computing and Healthcare: Understanding the HIPAA Omnibus Rule.

Handle healthcare data? It’s hip to know HIPAA!

If your business handles personal health information—such as patient records—you know that such information needs to be protected; you have a responsibility to keep it confidential and protected from those not authorized to view it. That confidentiality applies not only to personal health information that’s saved on a desktop or server that’s on premises, it also extends to the cloud.

The cloud has become the de facto standard for storing healthcare records, in large part because it’s efficient and economical. In short, it makes good financial and IT sense to store healthcare records in the cloud.

As businesses migrate their healthcare records to the cloud, that data must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (or HIPAA, as it is more commonly referred to) regulations. HIPAA established, among other requirements, a set of national standards for storing and handling electronic personal health information.

To be sure, HIPAA compliance is complicated; even so, it’s the law and must be followed. As a provider of HIPAA-compliant backup services that safeguard health information, Mozy ensures that health information is protected in a way that complies with HIPAA regulations. The Mozy software and services ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place so that the businesses that back up health information have the tools to keep it confidential and secure.

Mozy’s commitment to you and your data is simple and based on these principles:
   •     Your information is your information, not our information.
   •     We never sell your information to anyone, nor do we sell information about you.
   •     We never sift through your information in order to create a profile of you or target advertising.
   •     You can always get your information back while your account is active. We have no rights to your information if you leave           the Mozy service.

And your data is always safeguarded, whether in route to or from the cloud or at rest, with Mozy’s enterprise grade encryption.

Next week the Mozy blog will begin a four-part series about HIPAA—what it is, why it’s important, and what you need to do to be in compliance. Look for these blogs in the next couple of weeks:
   •     What is HIPAA compliance?
   •     Cloud Computing and Healthcare: Understanding the HIPAA Omnibus Rule
   •     Put a Stop to the Key Data Breach Culprits
   •     The Healthcare Cloud for Data Breach Prevention and HIPAA Compliance

Until then, check out how Mozy helps you comply with HIPAA security.