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Understanding HIPAA Hosting Requirements

Updated on May 31, 2012

Hosting providers exploiting the lack of Clarity in HIPAA requirement documentations

HIPAA has begun to revolutionize the health industry as a whole. The lack of documentation and precise specifications with the HIPAA about the exact technology standards to be employed for HIPAA compliant hosting have caused the spread of confusion and chaos among health service providers. And this lack of information is exploited well by the hosting providers. A lot of confusion prevail among the health service providers about what they should expect from a HIPAA compliant hosting provider. Most of the hosting providers are so good at confusing the health service providers that they are the only safe HIPAA hosting provider on earth and charge a hefty fee for all that they have to offer. Understanding the real HIPAA requirements in simple concepts will help you choose a good provider and avoid from being cheated by fake providers. All the HIPAA requirements are simple to understand, it’s just that in technical terminology the words sound a bit complex. Some of the most critically required HIPAA compliant features are explained below.

Overview of HIPAA requirements - Security Everywhere

The ultimate aim of HIPAA compliance requirements is to prevent data loss or manipulation at any point from the entry, transmission or the storage of data. None of the patient information should reach people who do not have permission to access it. The importance of offered HIPAA features could be easily understood if you start thinking “which way does data leak out if I don’t use this security measure” and if you start thinking this way soon you’ll realize why all these measures are taken and what new features do you exactly need.

Secure Virtual Private Networks ( VPNs) - The HIPAA Safe way to access data via Internet

Virtual Private Networks enable you to access your institute’s internal network via the Internet even when you are not inside the local coverage area of your institutes network. That means you can connect with the internal software systems of your enterprise even when you are away via the Internet. A ‘secure’ virtual private network takes all the required security measures to protect your company data flowing through the Internet with which you connect your VPN.

Anti-Virus Protection - A common system made mandatory

Almost everyone knows about viruses. When it comes to health related data, a virus attack erasing all data and bringing down every system in the network would be a catastrophe. Having a constantly updated anti-virus protection is an easily understood and a very essential part of the HIPAA requirement.

Network Firewall - To bounce of exteranal hack attempts

There are thousands of automated bots (programs) that try to crack into networks through known vulnerabilities. Having a firewall to protect your network will doze off most of the incoming attacks and allow only authenticated users as per the HIPAA compliance requirements to access the network data.

Encryption a must-have HIPAA requirement

Encrypting the data prevents even a person having the database access from seeing any raw data about a patient. This is a very critical demand of HIPAA requirements to use a secure Encryption method in the system. The encryption need to be done during the data transmission (encryption on the fly) as well as on the database ( encryption at rest).

Regular Back-up the HIPAA assurance for data

It’s very common with even with the normal hosting providers to take back-up of the data regularly. There are automation methods that will download a back-up every day and store it in another secure location. This isn’t a newly born technique, but it just got mandatory as a part of HIPAA requirement.

How to keep HIPAA implementation cost low

There are also other features like periodic vulnerability audits, 2 factor authentication system and highly secure data-centers being offered as a part of HIPAA requirements. However, you can get all things done with less cost if you hire professionals who could configure these settings because most of the services are already provided (they just need to be configured properly) by the vendor and it’s the package as a whole that costs high.

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    • PageC profile image

      PageC 6 years ago

      Nice job summarizing these important features.

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