HIPAA and the Mobile Device Challenge

Feb 21, 2014

2014-02-21 Mobile User.jpgThe bring-your-own device (BYOD) trend and mobile hardware have been infiltrating numerous job processes and are influencing how employees work. The healthcare industry has also started to adopt this initiative at a rapid pace to improve patient care and operations. However, medical professionals must be aware of the BYOD risks and ensure that their mobile strategy complies with HIPAA standards.

Securing healthcare data
Security is a top priority for medical institutions, but with mobile devices being used for virtually all tasks, keeping data safe is quickly turning into a challenge for many IT teams. The portability of the hardware is making it easier to share information, but it also can leave the door open for unauthorized personnel to access sensitive files. TechTarget contributor Brien Posey noted that organizations need to focus on having the data carry protection with it, as it is nearly impossible to fully protect equipment. By using encryption, passwords and applications, organizations can secure their assets and ensure that approved staff are able to view their resources.

While third-party apps can open numerous vulnerabilities and compromise patient information, approved HIPAA compliant file sharing solutions will keep the data safe and enable employees to collaborate efficiently. No matter what service managers decide to integrate, compliance needs will not go away or become more lax, meaning that it is up to them to ensure that the programs follow the regulations in all cases and are prepared for future protection needs.

Mitigating BYOD risks
Mobile devices have introduced new threats to data security, but luckily there are ways for organizations to reduce the danger. Becker’s Hospital Review contributor Bob Seaman noted that by assessing how mobile hardware can affect health information and developing strong policies, businesses can train employees to observe security best practices that will protect the device and sensitive information from being compromised. Users will better understand the importance of keeping software updated, enabling encryption and having a solid password to deter unauthorized system access. HIPAA compliant file sharing services such as Memeo C1 can also help organizations collaborate in a safe environment without putting data at risk in the process. This will allow employees to work in any location and access their necessary resources, increasing overall efficiency and driving productivity.

“Implementing mobile devices in your organization can add a lot of value for your team when the proper balance between security and usability is achieved,” Seaman wrote. “Proper planning, policy creation, implementation of controls and most importantly training for your users will help ensure your data’s protection and eliminate the risks typically associated with mobile devices.”

Category: Data Security