From legislation to legislation, from regulation to regulation. The HIPAA regulation tackles one of the health care industry’s biggest weaknesses- cyber security. How to comply with HIPAA standards, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
What is HIPPA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is an American legislation that aims to establish a unified standard for managing and storing patients’ medical information to prevent data leakage to unauthorized parties.
The legislation recognizes the use of new technologies to improve the service given to patients, and it seeks to regulate patient privacy among organizations that use these technological systems.
The individual’s right to privacy is at the core of this standard.
The regulation itself is relatively flexible and allows each organization to determine the compliance process according to the technological infrastructure, organization size, unique risks, and other considerations that are taken into account by cyber security providers.
Who Needs to Comply with HIPAA?
In short, all entities involved in the health field in the American market. In detail:
- Israeli companies that provide services to organizations working in the American medical market
- Health care providers
- Medical information systems service providers
- Collection services related to the health sector
Importance of the HIPAA
As stated, any Israeli company that wishes to provide services to medical organizations in the American market must comply with the standard. Compliance with the standard allows your organization to compete in tenders, enter international and new markets and prove to potential customers that you meet strict information security standards.
Moreover, the healthcare industry is considered one of the most targeted industries by hackers. In 2019 alone, 90% of all healthcare organizations reported cyber hacks that were successful in the configuration of DDOS attacks, malware insertion, ransomware, and more
HIPAA Compliance Process
This compliance is very flexible, so the process will differ from organization to organization. However, there are key elements in HIPAA compliance that every business wishing to comply with this regulation must prioritize:
- Mapping the technological systems in which the medical information is stored
- A thorough examination of the security in these databases by examining user management, permissions, identification, report generating and more.
- Inspection of infrastructures related to the medical databases including communication, backup and storage, and information security
- Defining work procedures in information security at the organizational level – raising employee awareness, documenting events, managing permissions, examining and investigating cyber incidents, and role allocation.
- Risk management – conducting a risk survey that includes finding and defining the potential cyber risks and their risk level, analyzing the consequences of exploiting these risks and weaknesses according to the risk level, and treating them as soon as possible by prioritizing the critical weaknesses and reducing the digital attack area.
HIPAA Standards in Cloud Environment
The standard distinguishes between companies that store the data on the organization’s internal IT infrastructure, and organizations, usually large ones, that process the data in the cloud. The risks to the latter are significantly higher, due to unique cloud environment weaknesses:
- “Account Hijacking”, meaning stealing the user’s information for cloud account by phishing, XSS attack, systematic password guessing, and more.
- The main victims of hacking and information leaks from the cloud are small businesses that do not use sophisticated security system protection measures like large organizations.
- An unsecured API is an entry point for hackers who exploit this vulnerability to carry out attacks such as DDoS.