The Challenge of HIPAA Security in 2017

HIPAA Security Changes

While it is crucial that every industry takes the right measures to protect against cyberattacks, this is especially true for the healthcare industry. HIPAA guidelines are becoming increasingly more difficult to adhere to due to the breaches in security hospitals often face.

In addition, funding for HIPAA audits is increasing by 50 percent in 2017. This substantial increase, coupled with the increased risk for data breaches, means that it is absolutely essential for healthcare companies, medical offices and dental offices to take extreme measures to protect their security and make sure they are compliant.

So just how threatened are medical businesses?

According to a 2016 poll analyzed in Healthcare IT News, as many as 75 percent of hospitals and medical facilities could have been victims of a ransomware attack in the past couple of years. Ransomware attacks are a specific type of cyberattack, where the perpetrator kidnaps a system by infecting it with malware and cuts off the owner’s access until they pay a sum of money.

Although ransomware attacks have become increasingly common, not very many have been ultimately successful, which explains why many hospitals may not even know if they have been attacked. It is still vital, however, to take the appropriate steps to combat an attack, but unfortunately nearly a quarter of poll respondents did not have a plan in place should a breach occur.

If your system does get infected with ransomware, the FBI advises not to pay the ransom because there is no guarantee the attacker will give access back to the owner. It is best to let a professional IT company handle the situation.

To avoid falling victim to ransomware in the first place, here are a few measures medical offices can take:

  • Install anti-virus software and perform updates and upgrades regularly
  • Implement technical security facets, such as access controls, audit controls, integrity controls, authentication and encryption
  • Educate employees so they know current HIPAA protocol and best security practices

If you have not already done so, consult with ICC to make sure your healthcare technical system is following all the correct security procedures to stay protected. The future of your company could be at risk. Call ICC today at 970-419-0602.

December 7, 2016


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