Logicalis Asks: Is Your Cloud Provider HIPAA-Ready?

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Logicalis asks businesses to use this 10-point checklist to find out if your cloud provider is HIPAA-ready.

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By storing your data in the cloud, you take advantage of a secure environment with expandability and scalability in mind. Through a flexible compute container cloud infrastructure, you can accommodate spikes in business without adding cap-ex costs.

If you’re a Covered Entity under HIPAA, you may be torn between moving your data into the cloud or maintaining it the old-fashioned way – in your own data center. Either way, you must be sure you’re complying with HIPAA requirements. But according to Logicalis (http://www.us.logicalis.com), an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, there’s no longer any reason to be concerned about moving healthcare data into the cloud if your cloud provider has addressed privacy and security.

For highly regulated industries like healthcare with strict compliance requirements, the cloud presents a particular challenge. “When it comes to the cloud, privacy and security is a big deal for Covered Entities,” says Von Williams, security analyst for Logicalis. “While it remains the ultimate responsibility of the Covered Entity to comply with HIPAA, there are policies and procedures that a cloud provider can have in place to lift the burden of securing at-rest and in-transit data from the shoulders of the Covered Entity.” The key, Williams says, is in knowing what to look for.

To help healthcare IT pros assess a potential cloud provider’s HIPAA readiness, Logicalis has developed a 10-point checklist addressing privacy and security of healthcare data.

Is Your Cloud Provider HIPAA-Ready?
Your cloud provider may be HIPAA-ready if it meets these 10 conditions. But, think of these as forming a STOP sign in your mind, Williams cautions. Don’t proceed to “Go” until every one of these conditions is met.

(1)    Policies. Your cloud provider must have a security program that meets the specific policies and procedures required by HIPAA.

(2)    People. Your cloud provider should have a dedicated person on-site at the cloud provider whose job is to be responsible for matching the provider’s offerings with HIPAA’s requirements.

(3)    Access Controls. It is vital that your cloud provider has access controls in place that include electronic identification and limit physical on-site data access to a restricted list of people.

(4)     Encrypted Data in Transit. Unless the provider is processing your data, the cloud provider cannot offer security at the point of input, but it can ensure that the transfer of that data to and from the cloud is encrypted and, therefore, secure.

(5)    Encrypted Data at Rest. If the cloud provider is storing healthcare data on hard drives, that data must be encrypted and each drive accounted for at all times. That includes any backup copies of the data as well.

(6)    Monitoring. For cloud providers to be HIPAA-ready, daily operational procedures that log and monitor the data in the cloud 24/7 looking for any suspicious activities are a must.

(7)    Breach Notification. In case of a security breach, cloud providers must have an incident response process that includes procedures for containing the incident and notification of Covered Entities in accordance with HITECH.

(8)    Disaster Recovery. A cloud provider should have a plan to address the recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to a Covered Entity after a natural or human-induced disaster.

(9)    Data Location. Know where your data is located; choose a cloud provider that stores your data on a server in the United States. If your data is on servers residing in foreign countries, the data may be subject to search by the foreign governments in those countries.

(10)    Experience and Organization-Wide Awareness. Make sure you choose a cloud provider that has a proven track record of successfully managing cloud services for other healthcare clients. You want a provider that has a security awareness program for its entire organization in place so everyone there is on board.

“The advantages cloud computing offers to healthcare providers can be realized without sacrificing security,” Williams says. “By storing your data in the cloud, you take advantage of a secure environment with expandability and scalability in mind. Through a flexible compute container cloud infrastructure, you can accommodate spikes in business without adding cap-ex costs. And even though you technically remain responsible for complying with HIPAA, you can effectively offload a majority of the expensive and time-consuming burden of safeguarding your healthcare data while in transit and at rest to a HIPAA-ready cloud provider.”

To learn more about Logicalis’ cloud offerings, including the Logicalis Enterprise Cloud (LEC) itself, visit the company’s dedicated cloud Web site here http://www.us.logicalis.com/microsites/cloud-computing.aspx.

For more information on Logicalis’ healthcare business, visit its dedicated healthcare Web site here http://www.us.logicalis.com/microsites/healthcare-it.aspx.

About Logicalis
Logicalis is an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services founded on a superior breadth of knowledge and expertise in communications & collaboration; data center; and professional and managed services.

Logicalis Group employs over 1,900 people worldwide, including highly trained service specialists who design, specify, deploy and manage complex ICT infrastructures to meet the needs of over 5,000 corporate and public sector customers. To achieve this, Logicalis maintains strong partnerships with technology leaders such as Cisco, HP, IBM and Microsoft.

The Logicalis Group has annualized revenues of $1 billion, from operations in the UK, US, Germany, South America and Asia Pacific, and is fast establishing itself as one of the leading IT and Communications solution integrators, specializing in the areas of advanced technologies and services.

The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg and London AIM Stock Exchanges, with revenues in excess of $4 billion.

For more information, visit http://www.us.logicalis.com.

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