When your company has access to patients’ medical records, financial data, and other sensitive information, you need to be aware of the risks of a security breach. If your company is audited by the Office of Civil Rights and found to be noncompliant with HIPAA rules, the legal and financial consequences can be severe. In August 2015, a federal appeals court found that the Federal Trade Commission also has the authority to investigate and prosecute cases of failure to protect private consumer information. Since anyone can file a complaint against you, it’s important to ensure that all of your sensitive data is adequately protected. By working with an agency that specializes in HIPAA compliance in Annapolis, you can take the following steps:
Limit the information you have. Only collect personal consumer information that your company absolutely needs, and do not keep it longer than necessary. For example, if your company needs to use consumers’ credit or debit card numbers, do not store that information, since it can then become vulnerable to hackers.
Control data access and require secure passwords. Make sure that your employees do not have access to personal consumer information if they do not need to, and limit administrative access to those employees who need it for their jobs. Protect all sensitive information by requiring complex passwords, and use other methods such as authentication to increase security.
Keep your network secure. Monitoring network activity to identify suspicious behavior can help reduce your risk of a security breach. Using firewalls to prevent unnecessary data access inside your network can also deter hackers. If anyone has remote access to your network, it’s important to make sure that those connections are also secure.
Run a security risk analysis. There is no substitute for having your system’s security examined by a skilled IT security professional. An IT consulting agency that offers HIPAA compliance assessments can analyze your system and identify weak spots in your security, ensuring that your company remains compliant with federal regulations.