HIPAA-COMPLIANT CLOUD BACKUP
HIPAA-compliant organizations are feeling the pressure to adopt new technologies in order to provide the best care possible for patients. One key technology for organizations is the use of cloud backup. As organizations move to electronic patient records, it’s essential that these records are backed up so important patient information isn’t lost. But is cloud backup HIPAA compliant? How do you find a HIPAA-compliant cloud backup provider?
HIPAA is a set of standards that all organizations that deal with sensitive health information must adhere to. These standards safeguard personal medical information to protect patient privacy. Here is a brief overview of requirements for HIPAA compliance:
Limited access to the physical facility of the organization. Only those with keys or pass codes may gain access.
Organizations must have policies regarding the use, transfer, storage, and disposal of physical and electronic information.
Electronic patient information must be password-protected and encrypted.
Transmission or storage of information to the cloud must be secure.
Outsourced Cloud Backup
Some companies choose to build and maintain their own data storage facilities to back up information, including sensitive patient records. However, many companies also choose to outsource their backup storage. An outsourced backup facility is simply a facility with dedicated electronic storage space for information and computing. The facility’s purpose is to store electronic information and keep it safe and secure.
HIPAA Compliance and Outsourced Cloud Backup Providers
Now that you have background information on HIPAA compliance and outsourced backup, the question you may be asking is whether the two are mutually exclusive. Are cloud backup providers HIPAA-compliant? Yes, there are HIPAA-compliant cloud backup providers that meet requirements. But why should you use cloud providers for your business? What are the benefits?
Benefits of Outsourced Backup Providers
There is no need for you to keep up with rapidly changing technology. If you have your own cloud and information storage facility, it’s your job to constantly update equipment and security. By outsourcing the cloud, you shift this responsibility and cost to a provider.
The information stored on the cloud is much more secure in the hands of a cloud provider. The provider’s sole focus is on maintaining and securing electronic information. These companies have technicians and specialists who keep up with threats, including hackers and viruses.
Information is recoverable. Cloud providers use reliable equipment and have systems in place to restore any information that is lost. If you lose patient records, you can trust that you can retrieve the records from the cloud. Having your business data stored on the cloud also saves you a ton of money in case of downtime. In fact, over $1.7 trillion was lost globally in 2014 due to downtime.
Finding HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Providers
You know there are cloud providers that meet HIPAA requirements, and you know the benefits of outsourced cloud providers. But how do you make sure the outsourced cloud provider is HIPAA-compliant? Here is a checklist of requirements to look for:
All data stored in the cloud must be encrypted.
Security must be present 24/7 at the physical facility.
Server rooms where data is stored should be locked. Access should only be granted with pin codes, key cards or scanners.
Electronic data should only be accessed from HIPAA-compliant, password-protected accounts. Repeat failed log-in attempts must lock the account.
Data must be stored on servers or computers that have up-to-date security and firewalls. Data should not be vulnerable to hackers or viruses.
Knowing which cloud backup providers are HIPAA-compliant will help you choose the right provider. Having a HIPAA-compliant provider helps you focus on your business and keeps your patient information safe.