Health organizations are trying to adopt cloud solutions. However, they have to deal with various challenges like security risks. Still, more than 79% of hospitals are using cloud technology. It is helping them by saving a lot of money. But, they need to make sure that they are choosing the right HIPAA compliant cloud service provider. If you are storing your client data in the USA, then you need to follow HIPAA compliance.
What is HIPAA Regulations or Compliance?
Every company in the healthcare sector needs to follow HIPAA regulations. These regulations are important for the protection of sensitive data. If your company has access to patient and medical data, then you need to follow HIPAA compliance.
Most hospitals are using electronic devices for providing medical care. Thus, they are no longer storing data in a paper chart. They are storing data in a computer or cloud. Healthcare institutes have to make sure that they are using reliable data protection practices.
Thus, it is important to make sure that your cloud vendor is meeting security criteria. These criteria mostly translate into thresholds that a provider must follow to become HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA cloud solutions will ensure that your company is following HIPAA regulations. Hence, healthcare institutes don’t need to worry about HIPAA compliance.
HIPAA Data Backup and Storage Requirements
If a cloud vendor is doing business with your company, then they are your business associates. Thus, they have to also follow cloud compliance standards. Cloud vendors will never directly handle your patient data. But, they can still receive and manage your data. Hence, they need to follow HIPAA guidelines.
Your cloud vendor should implement all the regulations of HIPAA compliance. If any cloud vendor is providing services to healthcare organizations, then they need to provide their documentation. They need to send this documentation to both OCR and to their clients.
You should check the proof of compliance with your cloud vendor. Thus, you can check if your provider is following all the regulations. HIPAA regulations are the same for cloud hosting providers. There are three different categories of HIPAA:
- Technical Safeguards: In this, the provider has to implement technical features to minimize the data risk. This will help you in maximizing your data protection. They must use a unique login formation. Also, there must be proper authentication for PHI access. These are some of the technical safeguards that vendors can use.
- Physical Safeguards: These mostly refer to the systems that vendors can use for protecting data. They include data backup and proper storage. Also, they have to use proper security precautions for protecting software and hardware devices.
- Administrative Safeguards: This can include emergency response, risk assessments and maintaining passwords.
How to become HIPAA Compliant?
It is hard for cloud vendors to follow HIPAA regulations. You need to invest a lot of time and effort to become compliant.
If your cloud vendor is willing to make a BAA with you, then they are perfect for you. This will protect your company from any legal repercussions. A BAA can’t contradict the regulations of the compliant. However, both parties can supplement some technologies. There are many core terms that are required in a BAA.
The level of encryption also plays an important rest. You should encrypt all your PHI files. AES is the minimum level of standard that you need to maintain. This will ensure that hackers can’t decode your files. AES is a very advanced encryption algorithm. Thus, it will improve your security defense.
How to determine if a cloud storage vendor is HIPAA compliant?
You should check if the cloud vendor is following all the standard practices. Also, you should ask them about how they are going to secure your data. If your potential vendor is offering an SLA, then it is a good sign.
A Service Level Agreement or SLA will guarantee that your vendor will respond to threats in 24 hours. Thus, they will quickly inform you about the attack. This will help you in reducing the impact of the attack.
Also, they should store medical records in a secure data center. You can ask them about the security measure that they are using. Also, who can access the storage facility? These are all very important questions that you should ask from your vendor. This will ensure that your cloud vendor is HIPAA compliant.
Your cloud vendor should have a disaster recovery plan. This will ensure that you can access data in case of natural disasters. Also, they should prepare for any kind of security breach. They should use DLP practices for protecting your data.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is important to ask relevant questions from a cloud vendor. You should ask them about the method that they are using for evaluating HIPAA compliance. Does your provider offer feedback on HIPAA compliance? What security standards are they offering? Do they have full-time employees?
It is important to have full-time employees in the data center. This will ensure that someone is protecting the data center. Also, they can quickly respond to any security breach. Your cloud provider should also be ready to adapt to new HIPAA changes. The HIPAA compliance keeps on changing with time. Thus, they need to update their policy.
You should do your research on selecting any cloud vendor. This will ensure that you are dealing with the right cloud vendor.
If you have a business in the healthcare sector, then it is important to follow HIPAA regulations. This will protect you from legal troubles. However, it is also important to use cloud technology. Cloud technology will help you in decreasing your operational costs. There are various cloud vendors available in the market. You should ensure that they are following HIPAA regulations. It is important to ask relevant questions. This will ensure that you are working an HIPAA compliant cloud vendor. If you need more information regarding HIPAA compliance, then you can contact Bleuwire.