Manage Chrome Plugins Questions to Ask to Ensure Your Cloud Services Provider Is HIPAA Compliant

Healthcare organizations are embracing the many advantages of cloud computing, including its scalability, cost-efficiency, and flexibility. While the cloud makes file storage and sharing easy and convenient, its security risks are numerous enough to have given rise to the CASB category. Before implementing a solution, however, it’s important to understand how industry regulations impact cloud adoption – and what to look for when selecting a cloud-storage service provider.If your business must be HIPAA compliant, these 10 questions to ensure HIPAA compliance might save you some major headaches down the road.

Does your cloud provider have the right policies in place?

A cloud services provider must have a program that meets specific security policies and procedures as mandated by HIPAA. One such policy is a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) that sets forth a specific set of guidelines for HIPAA compliance for all parties, including sub-contractors, involved with storing data. With a BAA, cloud providers and all associated parties are liable in the event of data loss or theft. Make sure all the companies handling your data sign a BAA.

Do they have a dedicated staff for HIPAA compliance?

Your cloud services provider should have dedicated employees on-site working to ensure HIPAA regulations are met. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that your cloud services provider works around the clock to monitor compliance and delivers a consistently high level of security.

What is the encryption process for data?

Your provider must guarantee that the transfer of data to and from the cloud is encrypted and secure. HIPAA dictates that FIPS-140-2 encryption is in place for any ePHI (electronic protected health information) that is in transit. There should also be an encryption for data that is at rest in SANs (storage area networks), on local drivers, and for backups on hard drives.

Do they have access controls?

Preventing hackers doesn’t just involve encryption. Measures must also be in place to prevent any internal breaches. Master keys and electronic IDs are two ways in which the provider could safeguard security and limit data access. Biometric scans, such as fingerprint or eye scans, are becoming increasingly popular with tech firms, and that’s a good thing for clients.

Do they offer offsite backups?

HIPAA also requires that secure offsite backups are in place. This is key to keeping data safe in the event of something catastrophic that could lead to loss or theft.

What security awareness training processes do they have in place?

Cloud providers need to consistently assess procedures to make sure they are operating within HIPAA regulations. Providers need a structured and up-to-date program to ensure their employees and clients are familiar with all potential security issues. These programs will also need to be updated as HIPAA regulations change. Human error is one of the main sources of security breaches, so it’s important that the vendor you select understands the importance of ongoing training.

What additional credentials or certifications do they have?

HIPAA compliance is never guaranteed, however, having other qualifications can go a long way to help clients feel secure. Good questions to ask your prospective cloud service provider should include whether they have additional certifications such as:- SOX compliance- PCI DSS compliance- SSAE-16- SAS70 type II

How do they meet data encryption standards?

As mentioned before, providers need to encrypt any data in transit to and from the cloud to make it secure. This also means keeping up with the latest encryption standards and not falling behind industry best practices. Security and encryption are likely at the very top of your list of concerns, so be sure to make this question an important part of the conversation.

Do they have a disaster recovery plan?

Whether it’s a natural disaster or man-made, any managed service provider must have a plan in place to deal with data recovery in order to stay compliant. This should be well documented and their staff should have immediate access so proper processes and procedures can be put into action immediately. Ask for a copy of a vendor’s disaster recovery plan as part of your evaluation process.

Do they maintain regular internal audits?

HIPAA looks closely at whether or not you are performing regular audits on your own vulnerabilities, although the definition of ‘regular’ is not spelled out. Both monthly and quarterly internal reviews are recommended, as well as periodic and annual third-party assessments. As part of your evaluation processes, ask about your prospective vendor partners’ internal audit schedule. Once you’ve selected a cloud services vendor, ask to be notified whenever an internal audit is performed. If that doesn’t happen at least every quarter, consider asking for that.Tech advances and innovations like cloud services are a huge boon to many businesses, including the healthcare industry. However, the advantages bring an increased risk of cyber threats to patient data. For organizations and the managed service providers with whom they work, it’s vital to make sure all the security measures and HIPAA requirements are in place.

Fear This My Fellow Athlete

Competition is good, just as fear is good – if you will use it to your advantage rather than letting it use you. Fear can frazzle us to make mistakes, become uncertain, and anxious, but fear used to our advantage can propel us to greatness. It’s a double-edged sword. Since fear is internal, you own it, it’s yours to use as you will, if you ignore it, it might hurt you, if you use it, it can help you, give you the edge, especially in competition. How might I know this?

Well, I supposed any seasoned competitor in the human endeavor or athlete understands exactly what I am saying, but in case you need more examples to help you better understand this concept, by all means keep reading.

Recently, I read an interesting article online and watched a great video sponsored by Expert Sports Performance, the video was titled: “How Talented Athletes Deal with Fear,” by Loren Fogelman, a well-known sports psychologist.

In my view I believe that Fear is a wonderful thing, a huge driver of the human psyche, but Loren Fogelman reminds me of the truth that: “it motivates some and stops others dead in their tracks,” which is absolutely a fact.

Still, I believe that if FEAR stops someone from achieving or causes them to choke under pressure, then I would submit to you that:

1.) They don’t understand what fear is; and,
2.) They are not using FEAR as an adrenal shot for peak performance

Well, I say; too bad for them, if they are competing against me or my team. Fear can be a weakness if you let it, or high-octane when you need it, YOU decide which. “It’s all in your head” I always say. Anyway, that’s the way I see it. A great book to read is: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!” published by in the 80s as a motivational type book.

As a competitive runner, I used to imagine footsteps behind me and ready to pass. Interestingly enough, I was a pretty good athlete so that didn’t happen much, but when it actually did happen it’s a sound you never forget. This imagination during competitive races propelled me to stay on pace or increase my speed opening up a large gap between me and the other runners. Sometimes when I am out training even today, I will listen to my feet hit the trail and pick up the sounds of the echo and amplify them in my brain to simulate those ever-feared footsteps, thus, propelling me to run faster and faster.