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Can your data backup provider deal with economic uncertainty?

6 min read

Posted On April 15, 2020

Cybersecurity padlock protecting HIPAA compliant data backup-1

To say that the future outlook for the economy is unpredictable in these unprecedented times would perhaps be the biggest understatement of the decade so far.

Nonetheless, it still needs to be said.

The economic outlook is evolving on a daily basis – and uncertainty reigns supreme. Fears of global recession, millions out of work, consumer activity in rapid decline, concerns over government borrowing.

We all know what’s happening, but at the same time, we don’t know what the future will hold – especially when it comes to our businesses.

In times like these, SMBs have so much on their plate that the robustness of their data backup provider may be the least of their concerns.

But while anxieties inevitably run high over what “might” happen over the coming months, focusing on the things we can control in the here and now puts us back in the driving seat, prevents panic from taking over and brings back some much-needed certainty in these uncertain times.

Though it may be compounded beyond measure as current events unfold, the fact is that SMBs have been operating under great uncertainty for some time already. Evolving data privacy regulations, the growing threat of cyber attacks and the need to adopt new technological solutions to comply with and combat each, respectively – all need attention now as much as ever, yet create conditions over which SMB owners can feel as if they have little control.

The truth however, is that these are in fact some of the areas where SMB owners have the most mastery of all – provided they work with a data backup provider that has a solution that is powerful and robust enough to provide it.

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PHI Data Breaches on the Rise

If one thing’s for certain no matter what else happens, it’s this – for businesses that must operate under compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), secure data backup is not optional.

Medical and dental practitioners, plastic surgeons, optometrists, and all vendors that handle PHI data on behalf of their clients are mandated by law to ensure that PHI data is securely protected, backed up and retrievable under HIPAA requirements – and those requirements are not going to change.

The legislation states that, in order to achieve HIPAA compliance, a data backup plan is required (CFR 164.308(7)(ii)(A)), for which organizations must “Establish and implement procedures to create and maintain retrievable exact copies of electronic Protected Health Information”.

A further requirement is that a disaster recovery plan (CFR 164.308(7)(ii)(B)) must be in placeto “restore any loss of data” in the event of damage to computers/servers where PHI data is stored, such asa system outage or data breach.

Organizations must also “Implement policies and procedures to prevent, detect, containand correct security violations” (CFR 164.308 (1)(i)), and “Implement procedures for periodic testing and revision of contingency plans” (CFR 164.308(7)(ii)(D)).

Security is vital when it comes to PHI data.

The 2019 Healthcare Data Breach Report published in February this year by HIPAA Journal reveals the extent of data breaches that ripped through the US healthcare industry in 2019.

Breaches involving the exposure of 500 or more records occurred in almost every single state – the only exceptions being North Dakota and Hawaii.

Citing figures from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights breach portal, the report shows a huge year-on-year increase on both the number of breaches that occurred and the quantity of patient records exposed.

The research found that 510 healthcare data breaches in which 500 or more records were exposed were reported in 2019, representing a 37.4% increase over the 371 breaches reported in 2018.

The total number of patient records exposed shot up from 13.9 million to 41.3 million over the same time period.

According to the report, “More healthcare records were breached in 2019 than in the six years from 2009 to 2014. In 2019, the healthcare records of 12.55% of the population of the United States were exposed, impermissibly disclosed or stolen.”

healthcare-data-breach-report

(Image source: hipaajournal.com)

Email and network servers proved the most vulnerable locations for PHI, although the data shows that everything from portable devices to laptops, desktops and electronic medical records were also susceptible to data breaches.

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(Image source: hipaajournal.com)

The report also tracked HIPAA enforcement.It found that there were multiple violations of HIPAA Rules uncovered by the OCR in 2019, and there were ten HIPAA enforcement actions that resulted in financial penalties.

In all, $12.2 million was paid to the OCR in fines and settlements over the course of the year.

penalties-hipaa-violations-2008-2019

(Image source: hipaajournal.com)

 

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Is Your Data Backup and Recovery Provider HIPAA Compliant, Robust and Reliable?

With all the uncertainty pervading every corner of the economy at present, the last thing an SMB owner needs right now is a data breach or the OCR knocking on the door handing out huge fines for HIPPA violations.

What organizations need in these uncertain times is a robust and reliable data backup and recovery solution delivered by a provider they are certain they can trust.

So – how do you know if your data backup provider is robust enough to carry you through the current climate of economic uncertainty and beyond?

Well, you need to consider how well the provider fits with your requirements. As we hope is clear by this point, SMBs in highly regulated industries such as healthcare need a data backup solution that is designed from the ground up to enable HIPAA compliance.

Top-notch security is also essential.

Of all the data breaches that occurred last year, most – 59.41% – were classified as hacking/IT incidents, accounting for 87.6% of breached records, with a further 28.82% classed as unauthorized access/disclosure incidents and involving 11.27% of all records breached.

causes-2019-healthcare-data-breaches

(Image source: hipaajournal.com)

In addition, if your current data backup and recovery provider (if you have one) isn’t ticking these boxes, then you will also need to source a new one who can handle the security and HIPAA compliance as your business and PHI data is transferred across to the new system.

Finally, as you and your employees will undoubtedly be overstressed and overworked already during these uncertain times, you need a data backup and recovery provider that can automate your backups securely, yet quietly, in the background so you never have to think – let alone worry – about your backups being performed in full compliance with HIPAA requirements.

 

Regain Control of Your PHI and Business Critical Data with Cloud Data Storage

Although we are living in economically uncertain times, two things are for sure – HIPAA compliance will remain mandatory and small business data will remain continuously under threat.

The time is now to start working with reputed and reliable data backup and recovery provider who can take care of your PHI and business critical data for you.

Central Data Storage is the provider you’ve been looking for.

We offer a fully supported, encrypted, cloud-based and HIPAA-compliant data backup and recovery solution designed specifically for SMBs in highly regulated industries.

We will handle all transfers of your data from your current provider should you require it and with unlimited storage capacity, automated backups and beyond military-grade encryption both in transit and at rest in our secure data center, your data is always safe, fully protected and will never fall into the wrong hands, making your data fully retrievable no matter what.

Want to learn more about the benefits of our fully supported cloud backup and recovery solution? Just call 1-888-907-1227 or email info@centraldatastorage.com.

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