Helping Your Clients Comply with HIPAA Doesn't Have to Be Hard
With recent changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—including the new rule that requires any “business associate” of a company handling patient information to comply with all HIPAA standards—many MSPs and other IT service providers may be wary of taking on new healthcare clients, or even continuing with the ones they have. Who needs the headache? It seems like HIPAA is adding a whole new level of complexity to the already-complicated world of IT security.
But while familiarizing yourself with HIPAA regulations can certainly be a bit of a headache, there are a few important reasons to get on board. Like the fact that not working with any HIPAA-related clients can truly limit your business. Especially when you consider that HIPAA-regulated companies not only include healthcare providers, but also all of their “business associates,” anyone who deals with patient medical information (like a personal injury attorney) or patient billing information (like some debt collectors or administrators). That’s a lot of potential business to leave on the table.
Password Management Cures HIPAA Headaches
With the advanced password management systems and security options available today, there’s really no need to shy away from HIPAA. With password management software that automates security maintenance tasks like password creation, auditing, and expiration, much of the “human error” factor is taken out of the equation, making life easier for both you and your client.
Another smart HIPAA security solution for businesses is multi-factor authentication (MFA). With MFA, users must present two security “factors” before being granted access to an application or network. One is usually a password (again, a password management system would still be used); the other “factor” can be a fingerprint scan, a one-time access code generated on a token device, etc.
In the past, many businesses stayed away from MFA because of its cost. Today, some MFA systems use a one-time code generated from a secure app on each user’s cell phone. This eliminates the need for costly equipment, and makes MFA more convenient than ever before.
MFA could be considered the “key” to HIPAA compliance; the added layer of security it provides makes an outside attack nearly impossible, even in the case of a compromised password. And with password management, best password security practices—like strong, unique passwords and the changing of passwords after a set period of time—are automatically built in. Because of this enhanced security level, MFA allows businesses to explore other options as well, like single sign on (SSO). With SSO, users can authenticate using MFA and then log into all of their needed applications and sites from one secure screen.
Tools like passwords management, multi-factor authentication, and single sign-on make working with clients that have HIPAA compliance concerns a no-brainer. If you are going to take on new clients with HIPAA obligations, however, it’s a good idea to do your homework ahead of time. Download our free guide for IT providers, “Why Healthcare IT Requires Strong Authentication” by clicking on the image below.