Though you may associate healthcare data breaches with hackers or digital thieves halfway across the globe, an astonishing amount of breaches are by individuals within the organizations. These threats are known as insider threats; research states approximately 58 percent of healthcare breaches are by insiders. Any individual who has access to your company’s databases and programs, like employees, contractors, researchers, and volunteers, are potential insider threats. Here’s what you can do to bolster your healthcare IT security:
4 Ways to Improve Your Healthcare IT Security
1. Educate Your Employees
Insider threats to your company’s data aren’t always intended to steal data or harm your company. Sometimes, employees may look up patient information simply because it is there. They may look up data for friends and family members, for a famous individual or for other employees. Even though there is no malicious intent, this still constitutes as a security breach.
It’s essential for your employees to receive in-depth training that makes it clear this practice is unacceptable. It still qualifies as a HIPAA violation, and penalties for a HIPAA violation can include job loss, fines and criminal prosecution. It should be thoroughly communicated that employees should access information for valid, job-related reasons only.
2. Monitor and Review Employee Activity
HIPAA regulations require your healthcare organization to monitor access to patient records. However, one of the most effective ways to check that your employees are adhering to policy regarding the access of patient information, is to frequently review these access logs. Though it’s possible to do this manually, you can invest in software that makes the task much less time-consuming.
If you detect problematic activity, it’s essential to act promptly. You should encourage employees to report any insider activity that seems suspicious.
3. Limit the Level of Access for Your Employees
Your employees should only have access to the information that is necessary for them to do their jobs. One way to deter insider threats is to make it impossible for employees to search for records they would have no reason to search for during the course of their workday. You should also make sure your employees know they should never share their login credentials or passwords with other individuals, even if these individuals are inside the company and appear to have a valid need for the information.
4. Complete In-Depth Background Checks
Make sure you know exactly who your company is hiring, subcontracting work to or partnering with. Comprehensive background checks are essential for a high level of healthcare IT security. These background checks should include checking references and searching for the employee on social media and Google.
Network Security Associates has the technology and expertise to manage your data and improve your healthcare IT security, ensuring your organization remains HIPAA-compliant at all times. Contact us at 702-547-9800 today for more information.