How to secure digital patient files for industry compliance

How to secure digital patient files for industry compliance

In today’s healthcare environment, changes in technology and practices involving patient files have exposed certain vulnerabilities when it comes to data security. As these files contain sensitive information, they must be protected not only for the safety of the client, but for industry compliance. Healthcare organizations can leverage the security of Faronics’ Deep Freeze solutions to protect workstations and servers utilized to store and transmit patient files.

Password protection

As part of a layered security strategy, healthcare providers should protect all devices with strong passwords, and change these login credentials regularly to prevent unauthorized access to workstations. Robust passwords should feature a variety of characters including letters, numbers and special characters where applicable. In addition, these codes should not be something obvious or easily guessed, such as common words or phrases, or personal information. Administrators can also set up a system that requires users to reset their passwords every set length of time. Although this may make this information more difficult to remember, it provides boosted protection against cybercriminals. If employees have issues keeping track of their authentication credentials, managers can assign administrative authority to certain staff members. This will allow these individuals to add, delete or reset passwords as necessary, and prevents added security risks involved in storing passwords in a physical or digital location.

Protect mobile endpoints

Especially with staff members who may utilize their portable hardware to access or transmit health files, administrators should ensure that these devices are adequately protected. Organizations should have a BYOD practice in place to govern the use of smartphones, laptops or tablets which includes requirements for data security. Managers should utilize endpoint data protection software in addition to the default security measures provided on devices. Protections should also include the ability to remotely wipe information from endpoints if devices are lost or stolen.
If the group allows employees to transmit patient files via their mobile devices, they should also require the use of a safe file sharing solution geared toward healthcare users. New applications have entered the market that allow these professionals to safely share digital files in accordance with industry standards for data security. One such application, QuickDrop, addresses patient privacy concerns while providing a more efficient solution to transmitting patient files safely.

Protect workstations

In addition to providing safeguards for mobile devices, healthcare groups should ensure that their on-premise systems are protected. This includes desktop workstations used within the office, as well as any servers contained on the premises. Organizations can leverage the security provided by Deep Freeze solutions to protect computer and server systems. In the event of a data breach, this technology instantly restores the workstation configuration and ensures that important files are not lost. In this way, the group is taking proactive measures to protect themselves and their patients from data leakage.

Keep systems updated

For best-in-class protection against cybercriminals, administrators should work with the IT team to ensure that all security patches are installed as soon as possible and systems are optimally protected. As updates correct known vulnerabilities within a program, it is irresponsible not to install these patches. This includes the overall operating system of hardware, individual applications, and all security software like anti-virus.

Control access to files

In addition to establishing strong passwords for users, administrators should set up usernames and profiles for better data governance and information management. This way, higher ups can utilize their control panel to see who has logged into a system and what activities they engaged in. Furthermore, as not all employees will need access to all files within the system, individual profile settings can ensure that only authorized users can connect with sensitive patient information.

About The Author

Suzannah Hastings

Suzannah is interested in all things digital, from software security to the latest technological advances. She writes about ways in which the increasingly internet-driven landscape and windows technologies like steady state alternative that change our lives, and what we can expect in the future.

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