Health Information Management

Address top security flaws on your network

HIM-HIPAA Insider, January 5, 2015

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In my experience, most organizations in the healthcare industry—both covered entities and business associates—have taken the steps to put policies, business processes, and training programs in place to help ensure compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule. Still, there's a gaping hole in many healthcare compliance and security programs: a lack of technical security testing of Web applications, mobile applications, and network systems. This includes basically anything with an IP address or a URL that's in any way involved with the processing and storage of PHI.

Some people refer to this security testing as penetration testing, security auditing, or a vulnerability assessment. Whatever you call it, one thing should be clear: Failure to test your organization's technical security is the root of many security incidents. Although security testing can detect critical weaknesses in an organization's systems (which, ironically, often points to failures in supposedly compliant policies and processes), it is often ignored.
The following are all-too-common technical security flaws that may not only throw you out of compliance with HIPAA, but also get you into a real bind in the event of a breach:
  • Web applications
  • Default, blank, or otherwise weak passwords on servers and workstations
  • Physical security systems (e.g., Internet protocol cameras and access control systems for doors) that are running with the default settings and, thus, are wide open for employees or intruders to cover their tracks after carrying out malicious acts
Continue reading "Address top security flaws on your network" by Kevin Beaver, CISSP, an information security consultant, expert witness, and professional speaker with Principle Logic, LLC, in Atlanta. Subscribers to Briefings on HIPAA have free access to this article in the December issue.



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