Good Hands: How to Better Protect Client Information

Consumers often take it for granted that their information is more secure with a larger enterprise than a small business. In most cases, the processes and technology used are largely the same, assuming client data is a priority. Since big business is likely a better payoff, it's actually a more favored target for hackers. A single data breach can drive away your customers. The risks for your business, regardless of size, are usually failure to update security software and to implement proper protocols. Here are some ways to strengthen your protection of client information.

Secure data
In healthcare, security of patient data is imperative to meeting the first aim of healthcare, but taking your client’s information seriously is a good idea in any field Digital information requires physical as well as electronic controls. On top of firewalls and anti-malware, your company should isolate and segment sensitive information into encrypted storage. Restrict user privileges based on a need-to-know basis, and log all user access. Follow PCI guidelines. Occasional audits will help to uncover improperly granted permissions or attempts to bypass data management protocols.

Business Continuity
Have an emergency plan in case you do suffer a network breach. Tactics like ransomware can deny you your own data without actually hacking it. Be sure to take regular full backups of all data to volumes that aren't internet-accessible. Take frequent incremental backups during the day to ensure your copies are up to date with constantly changing information such as sales transactions. You should also test that these backups are valid and can be easily restored.

Regulatory Compliance
The government has established regulations to ensure that businesses provide adequate protection for client information. In healthcare, for instance, both insurers and providers are required to follow the regulations set forth under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If you're planning a healthcare career, this includes not just IT measures but limiting disclosure of information and allowing patients the right to view or amend their own data.

Get Employees Onboard
It should be made clear to all staff that they should also observe company security policies and report suspicious activity. Physical data breach is also a danger from intruders or disgruntled employees. It's important to lockdown server rooms, monitor visitor movements, and encourage employees to use strong passwords and log off computers when they leave the desk. The access credentials of departed employees should be immediately revoked. In most hospitals today, Healthcare Administration Professionals are in charge of things like managing and mitigating employee compliance with policies, as well as moderating those policies and the software and technology used to protect patient data. Don't forget that even software updates, backups, and employee vigilance are useless if they aren't done. It's important that digital or printed security procedures are made available, and training sessions are implemented as reminders.

This guest post is courtesy of Kara Masterson.


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