Prioritizing Security Amidst Increasing Cloud Adoption
COVID-19 pushed the healthcare industry to the cloud. This has had positive effects on providers, who now use cloud capabilities to simplify workflows and improve task efficiency. However, this benefit comes with a large quantity of new risks to the security of patient information. Providers have transitioned to the cloud more quickly than anticipated, and in many cases these organizations are now facing unprecedented cybersecurity challenges.
A recent report from Wipro Limited found that covered entities who adopted cloud capabilities had improved their “IT systems, patient engagement, and clinical decision support.” The report also said:
“To manage data more effectively, leaders and other healthcare providers are transitioning from using primarily public and private cloud to hybrid cloud environments. This allows them to operate databases with sensitive data on the premises and run applications that require more flexible resources in the public cloud.”
Organizations that had a mature cloud implementation were actually the most likely to share with researchers their concerns surrounding cybersecurity and the cloud, while cloud beginners were inclined to place more confidence in their security. This is an important reminder for all providers that the greater your reliance on the cloud becomes, the more you must prioritize securing it. These two goals of protection and efficiency should continually align, to ensure your cloud capabilities never outpace your security processes.
All that being said, it is worth noting that despite the new threats and the upfront work it takes to set up a secure cloud environment, “two thirds of respondents actually reported cybersecurity cost savings from migrating to the cloud.” These savings can be put into more cloud applications to make your patient experience even better.
Keep an eye on what is working for other organizations:
“Providers that moved ahead of the sector to adopt the cloud used it to modernize data management and other key functions, leading to benefits throughout their operations. Following the cloud leaders’ strategies can help beginners and intermediate cloud users accelerate their own cloud journeys and set themselves up for future success.”
The Security Risk Assessment
Whether your electronic PHI (protected health information) is being stored in the cloud or elsewhere, it’s critical that you’ve documented where that data is located and what security protections are in place to keep it from being compromised. These are included in the Security Risk Assessment, required under HIPAA law.
Part of balancing function with security is conducting a regular assessment to find areas where your cybersecurity processes may be lacking, and then applying that knowledge to better protect your patient data. The SRA is not only an assessment of cybersecurity, but that piece is growing more important every day as threats increase. It’s no longer a question of if you’ll be the target of a ransomware or phishing attack, but when.
That’s why Medcurity brought every piece of the SRA together in one easy-to-use platform, to bring clarity to HIPAA compliance for providers and business associates. We’re here to help you meet requirements so that you can focus on providing the best patient care. If you have questions about patient privacy and the cloud, reach out to your team at Medcurity!