Go Beyond HIPAA: Strengthening IT Security by Sharing Information

Go Beyond HIPAA: Strengthening IT Security by Sharing Information

HIPPA compliance for healthcare organizations is crucial – yet many still struggle with meeting even the most basic requirements. Furthermore, merely employing a security profile that just meets regulations does not provide adequate protection.

But what does it mean in real-life terms to not meet these requirements, and what steps can you take right now to improve your security?

A Taller Fence

Hearing phrases like, “lacking IT security” can be somewhat vague if you don’t have a firm grasp on the particulars of your network security. So here’s an example that might help:

Imagine your IT security system is a fence protecting your yard. The government requires you have a fence that stands 3 feet tall. Now this might be enough to stop some attackers from getting onto your yard, but if you want to increase your odds of stopping everyone, you’re going to need a taller fence.

Basically, despite meeting regulations, some organizations’ cybersecurity protections are still falling short, which is a huge problem. Even for those with robust security systems, it’s quite the task to stay ahead of the ever-increasing threats against your business.

With all these challenges, sharing and staying up-to-date on threat information is essential. Once new attackers or methods are detected by one healthcare organization, they should let everyone else know. However, this requires a level of cooperation that can be difficult to come by. This has to change.

The Office for Civil Rights recently wrote that, “The nation’s healthcare system is part of the national infrastructure that has increasingly come under attack from cyber threats. One of the keys to combatting these cyber threats is for the government, the private sector, and international network defense communities to collaborate and share information.”

Where to Find Information

There are many government-backed organizations that encourage healthcare organizations to find and share cybersecurity information.

The National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center specializes in sharing valuable cyber threat information for the healthcare sector, for example. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights – which enforces HIPAA compliance – recommends organizations sign up for alerts from the Department of Homeland Security. With these alerts turned on, organizations will be immediately notified of any new malware or attack the government has detected, allowing you to take proper precautions to protect yourself.

Most importantly, you should invest in a security provider who understands the threat landscape. Meeting regulations is a good start, but if you don’t have a true partner whose sole job is to keep an eye on your network, then you’re working at a disadvantage. When it comes to cybersecurity, there are no short cuts or “good enough.” It requires an investment and a focus on collaboration and sharing.

Don’t settle. Raise the bar further and truly protect your organization’s information.

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