5 basic steps to health IT cloud security

As more and more healthcare providers adopt cloud computing technology, they have to also be more alert and deliberate about keeping data safe.

Here are five keys to healthcare IT cloud safety, offered by InformationWeek.

1. Track inventory of used cloud services. Employees might download additional cloud-based apps for sharing and/or storing files. IT should audit the use of such apps and determine which, if any, are compatible with the department's security and other criteria. If they are compatible, the organization can standardize apps being used.

2. Read and understand the vendor contract. Have an attorney review the cloud services contract and service level agreement to ensure it meets the organization's needs and includes penalties in the event of a service failure. Additionally, compare the contract with the data laws of individual states, as states are increasingly implementing their own data security, breach and personal health information protection laws.

3. Make sure the network is strong. Healthcare organizations need to ensure their network is capable of handling the increasing number of services they are implementing, including cloud computing, telemedicine and other connected devices. It is important to make sure the network is strong enough to securely support these services.

4. Consider who has access to protected health information. Depending on the size and scope of a healthcare organization, either a cloud service company or an internal IT department could be capable of safeguarding PHI. Providers should determine where PHI will be the most secure and take the proper steps to protect it.

5. Create a response plan. As with all incidences or breaches, healthcare organizations need to already have an actionable plan in place. Organizations should also include partner and vendor contact information and a review of insurance coverage.

More articles on cybersecurity:

Healthcare cloud service security: 7 key statistics
10 ways to bolster healthcare data security
FBI: Hackers are targeting healthcare organizations


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