An Ounce of Prevention – Why HIPAA Guidelines should be your standard operating procedures

The American Heart Association lists heart disease as the #1 cause of death in the US with nearly 800,000 deaths per year. In comparison, more than 3.1 million patients have been impacted in the first half of 2017 by a data breach that led to the theft of protected health information (PHI). That's right — in half the time, nearly four times as many people have been impacted by an information breach as have died from heart disease! Yet an estimated two thirds of medical practices remain at risk of bei ...

Closing the Cybersecurity Gap

As we hear more and more about breaches and ransomware in businesses and especially healthcare, it is becoming an even greater concern for healthcare business owners. It is no longer if you will be attacked, but when and how often. The first step in closing the cybersecurity gap is to realize that you can't do it on your own. Cybersecurity is not finding your basic "IT guy" that "can fix it". It is about obtaining the right resource whether that is a full time hire or a managed service. The next thin ...

Buckle Up, It’s Going to be a Wild Cyber Ride!

Breathing a sigh of relief that the WannaCry ransomware attack didn’t hit your organization?  Thinking you’ve dodged that bullet?  Well, think again!  If trends are any indication, and they typically are, I think it’s going to get a lot bumpier.  Below are some incidents that lead me to to this conclusion.  So, buckle up and hold on tight! January 2015 – Largest Single Healthcare Breach - Anthem Insurance breach affecting over 80 million people.  Investigations point to state sponsored cybe ...

Best Defense Against Ransomware is a Good Backup

By now, most have heard or been affected by the WannaCry ransomware that has spread to over 150 countries at last count. The WannaCry ransomware started taking over users' files on Friday, demanding $300 to restore access. Hundreds of thousands of computers have been affected so far. Computer giant Microsoft said the attack should serve as a wake-up call. The first line of defense in this is always having a properly maintained firewall both on your network and on each individual computer system. Ho ...

The greatest threat comes from within

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the greatest threat is from within. In today’s focus on cyber-security world, we tend to focus on keeping people out of our network as a primary method to keep our sensitive data, such as ePHI, safe. While that is incredibly important, we should make sure not to overlook the threat posed by those we do grant access. How much of a threat is it? Well, roughly half of all attacks originate from inside the company - and not all are with malicious intent. Part of the prob ...

HIMSS17 – Are medical devices the weak link in cyber security?

According to a post on HIPAA Journal, 60% of healthcare organizations have already introduced networked medical devices into their technical infrastructure. Networked medical devices are the healthcare version of the “internet of things” (IoT) – smart devices that communicate with applications, such as the EHR, and with one another without human intervention. The problem – many medical devices aren’t cyber-secure!  89% of the organizations reporting the use of networked medical devices also repor ...

Focus on Technology: Change Your Router Passwords!

One of the most common services in healthcare is the connection to the internet. With all the focus on security and cyber breaches, one of the most vulnerable pieces on your connection to the internet is what is called the router / gateway. The router / gateway connects your computers and devices to the public internet and in many cases provides the initial security or barrier through the use of a built-in firewall. The problem is, that while this is the door, the gateway to the internet, it is a two way ...

Why using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail in healthcare is bad

Time and time again we see healthcare organizations using free email accounts. While convenient, it is an extremely dangerous decision in a world where HIPAA fines are increasing in cost and occurrence. If you or your employees have access to or use the free email services from you organization’s network, either officially for business and/or for personal use, you are at an extreme risk of being breached! Why? Think about what can be sent via email. Whether you are using email to send patients r ...

Experian predicts more pain and suffering for healthcare industry

Experian released their fourth annual 2017 DATA BREACH INDUSTRY FORECAST. It covers several industry specific predictions, including Healthcare.  If you haven't heard, healthcare is under attack and it's going to be full on war in 2017.  The cyber attackers are expected to re-invest funds to create more sophisticated software and better targeting of data to steal. A few points made in the report: Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) or patient records are one of the most valuable sources of data ...

Protect your patients, protect your practice, protect yourself.

The healthcare industry is beginning to realize that HIPAA is here to stay and they are probably going to be audited sooner or later.  What physicians and all healthcare providers need to understand is that if you don't protect your patients' PHI/ePHI the following can happen to your patients as a result of their identity being stolen and used. NOT Protecting Your Patients' (PHI/ePHI): You can cause them financial difficulties or even financial ruin. You can cause them undue stress, even a str ...

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