Complying with data privacy and protection regulations wouldn’t give several business owners sleepless nights if it only meant installing a predefined list of security solutions. Compliance goes way beyond this and for good reason. In principle, regulators, local or international, want businesses to:
- assess the type of data they store and manage
- gauge the potential risks the data is exposed to
- list down the remediation efforts needed to mitigate the risks
- undertake necessary remediation efforts regularly
- and most importantly, document every single step of this seemingly arduous process as evidence
Each of the above steps are mandatory and non-negotiable. A closer look will tell you that installing a list of expensive security solutions comes only after the first three steps in the process have been followed. Skipping past these initial steps and acting merely on presumptuous knowledge is tantamount to leaving your business’ future to sheer chance. It’s anyone’s guess what that would lead to.
That’s why we’re going to explain to you why a thorough and accurate risk assessment is truly the first step towards achieving compliance. Moreover, when repeated regularly, it can help you demonstrate continuous compliance while keeping cyberthreats at bay.
Security Risk Assessments Unearth Crucial Insights
A thorough and accurate risk assessment can unearth a host of crucial insights from even the deepest and darkest alleys of your IT environment to ultimately empower your decision making. Having actionable insights at your disposal can help you build strategies to reduce risk levels in practical ways instead of shooting in the dark by testing various tools.
Here are some of the most important details that become more apparent and unambiguous with every risk assessment.
Baseline of the System
A risk assessment helps you chart out the lifecycle of all data that is collected, stored and managed in your entire network.
Identification of Threats
A meticulous risk assessment identifies all the possible threats, such as intentional, unintentional, technical, non-technical and structural, that your business data is exposed to.
Identification of Vulnerabilities
With each assessment, you get the latest list of vulnerabilities prevalent in your network with respect to patches, policies, procedures, software, equipment and more.
Current Status of Existing Controls
From the assessment report, you can also understand the existing security and privacy controls protecting your business against vulnerabilities.
Probability of Impact
An accurate assessment report is fully capable of anticipating the probability of a threat that might exploit one of your network’s existing vulnerabilities.
Strength of Impact
Risk assessment also helps you gauge the possible impact of any threat hitting your business.
Imagine how easy it would be for you to build and implement a strategy to fix the security loopholes in your business while maintaining a well-documented record of your efforts.
Why Risk Assessment Is Needed for Compliance
While assessing whether you did everything in your capacity to ensure full compliance with the regulations, you also need to keep in mind that a regulator seeks evidence of compliance – documented reports. Besides helping you chart a successful path to compliance, a thorough risk assessment adds great weightage to demonstrating evidence of compliance. When you present the risk assessment reports along with other documentation, you demonstrate how your business carried out due diligence in upholding principles of data privacy and protection.
Please remember that no regulator expects you to have a fail-safe strategy. What matters is uncompromising intent, informed action and undeterred consistency. If you can demonstrate all this, you will most likely avoid any punitive action as well as a long list of problems could that surface afterwards.
Help Is Just a Conversation Away
Contrary to what is often claimed, there are no shortcuts to compliance or to any of the steps that lead to it. At the outset, achieving compliance might seem grueling. However, it isn’t as bad as it seems when due process and expert guidance is followed.
A conversation with us is all you need so we can help you walk through the complexities of risk assessment with diligent and customized guidance.
As we’ve stressed before, your organization’s annual HIPAA Security Risk Assessment and Analysis are only one element of the compliance process.
Whether you’re a Business Associate or Covered Entity, your organization must also “implement security updates as necessary and correct identified security deficiencies”. In other words, you must act via a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) following the required risk assessment process.
Here are a few common Corrective Action Plan steps. These generally include:
- Implement technical policies and procedures to allow access only to those persons or software programs that have been granted access rights to information systems maintained.
- Implement procedures to regularly review records of information system activity, such as audit logs, access reports, and security incident tracking reports.
- Conduct accurate and thorough assessments of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI.
- Develop a complete inventory of all its categories of electronic equipment, data systems, and applications that contain or store ePHI, which will then be incorporated into its Risk Analysis, and must complete a Risk Management plan.
What happens if I fail to complete my Security Risk Assessment? What happens next?
Failing to complete your annual Risk Assessment oftentimes means the organization will be required to complete a “robust” Corrective Action Plan (CAP) and often with at least two years of monitoring activity.
Have you ever doubted whether a small Billing Company or independent physician practice actually ever face penalties?
Keep in mind, a Business Associate is a ‘person’ or ‘entity’. This means there is no Billing Company too small or too large to comply with the Federal HIPAA regulations. Again, if you haven’t completed an accurate and thorough security risk assessment prior to that, you could also be penalized under ‘willful neglect’. This category alone is $50,000 per violation!
As we have stressed before, it is important for you to understand that every complaint or potential breach must be investigated by HHS/OCR. If you, a billing company, or other vendor, suspects a breach you must inform the covered entity (your client) and have a breach risk assessment completed to determine key factors and take action.
At Live Compliance, we make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple.
- Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees.
- Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location. Conducting an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment is not only required, but is a useful tool to expose potential vulnerabilities.
- Complete set of HIPAA Policies and procedures built directly into your portal. Includes actionability, change management documentation, and Incident Response Policy to assist with your Corrective Action Planning. Easily share policies with staff with one click.
- Built directly into your portal, easily monitor where your workforce may be vulnerable with our Dark Web Breach Searches. Easily expose breach sources with ongoing searching of active employee email or domain ensuring continued awareness of potential breach exposure. Weekly automatic email notifications if new breaches are discovered.
- Short, informative, privacy awareness videos covering technical, administrative, and physical safeguards with topics such as Ransomware, Phishing, the Dark Web, Password Protection, etc. Delivered monthly with no logins required, empower your workforce to make conscious decisions when it comes to your organization’s privacy and security.
Don’t risk your company’s future, especially when we are offering a free Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. Call us at (980) 999-1585, or email me, Jim Johnson at Jim@LiveCompliance.com or visit www.LiveCompliance.com For more information please contact us at (980) 999-1585 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information please contact us at (980) 999-1585 or email us at email@example.com
Don’t risk your company’s future, especially when we are offering a free Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. Call us at (980) 999-1585, or email Support@LiveCompliance.com or visit www.LiveCompliance.com
How Can You Avoid Phishing Scams?
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending e-mails or text messages claiming to be from reputable companies in order to persuade individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Scammers use e-mail or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information, trying to steal your passwords, credit card account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could gain access to your accounts. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day—and they are OFTEN successful!
The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that $57 million was lost to phishing schemes in one year. Scammers often update their tactics, but there are some signs that will help you recognize a phishing e-mail or text message.
How to Recognize Phishing Scams
First, phishing e-mails and text messages may look like they are from a company you know or trust. They may look like they are from a bank, a credit card company, a social networking site, an online payment website, or an app or online store. Phishing e-mails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment.
- Say they have noticed some “suspicious activity or log-in attempts”
- Claim there is a problem with your account or your payment information
- Say you “must confirm some personal information”
- Include a fake invoice
- Want you to click on a link to make a payment
- Say you are “eligible to register for a government refund”
- Offer a coupon for free stuff
What are the Signs of a Scam?
- The e-mail says your account is “on hold because of a billing problem.“
- The e-mail has a generic greeting, “Hi Dear.” (If you have an account with the business, it probably would not use a generic greeting like this).
- The e-mail invites you to click on a link to “update your payment details.”
Your e-mail spam filters may keep many phishing e-mails out of your inbox, BUT scammers are always trying to outsmart the spam filters. So, it is a good idea to add extra layers of protection.
Four Steps You Can Take Today
- Protect your computer by using security software.
Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
- Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
- Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account.
- Protect your data by backing it up. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Be sure to check with
your IT department and designated Security Officer before copying data to other locations.
What to Do If You Suspect a Phishing Attack?
If you get an e-mail or a text message that asks you to click on a link or open an attachment, first answer this question: Do I have an account with the company or know the person that contacted me?
- If the answer is “No,” it could be a phishing scam
- If the answer is “Yes,” contact the company directly using a phone number or website you know is real, NOT the information in the e-mail. Attachments and links can install harmful malware.
- If you think a scammer has your information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, go to IdentityTheft.gov. There you will see the specific steps to take based on the information that you lost.
- If you think you clicked on a link or opened an attachment that downloaded harmful software, update your computer’s security software. Then run a scan.
- Finally, contact your Security Officer and IT Staff Immediately.
What Can I Do to Ensure This Doesn’t Happen?
One of EZClaim’s partners, Live Compliance, will make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple. They have a service that is:
- Completely online, our role-based courses make training easy for remote or in-office employees.
- Contact-free, accurate Security Risk Assessments are conducted remotely. All devices are thoroughly analyzed regardless of location. Conducting an accurate and thorough Security Risk Assessment is not only required but is a useful tool to expose potential vulnerabilities.
- Built directly into your portal, easily monitor where your workforce may be vulnerable with our Dark Web Breach Searches. Easily expose breach sources with ongoing searching of active employee email or domain ensuring continued awareness of potential breach exposure. Weekly automatic e-mail notifications if new breaches are discovered.
- Informational, and has short, informative, privacy awareness videos covering technical, administrative, and physical safeguards with topics such as Ransomware, Phishing, the Dark Web, Password Protection, etc. Delivered monthly with no logins required, empower your workforce to make conscious decisions when it comes to your organization’s privacy and security.
So, don’t risk your company’s future and avoid phishing scams especially when Life Compliance is offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. Call them at 980.999.1585, e-mail them at Jim@LiveCompliance.com, or visit LiveCompliance.com. For more specific information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, they help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, e-mail them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
[ Article contributed by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance | Photo Credit: Shutterstock ]
Ransomware Targeting Medical Billing Companies
As the number of healthcare providers taking advantage of Telehealth increases during this uncertain time, the number of ransomware attacks continues to increase as well.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. Microsoft says, “Multiple ransomware groups that have been accumulating access and maintaining persistence on target networks for several months activated dozens of ransomware deployments in the first two weeks of April 2020.”
The attacks are targeted towards aid organizations, medical billing companies, manufacturing, transport, government institutions, and educational software providers, however, Microsoft says that it doesn’t stop with critical service groups and suggests all networks are aware of these attacks and taking necessary steps to limit risk. NetWalker ransomware, for example, gained notoriety for targeting hospitals and healthcare providers with e-mails claiming to provide information about COVID-19.
Have you had an Accurate and Thorough Security Risk Assessment and/or penetration testing?
If you haven’t completed an accurate and thorough security risk assessment, you could also be penalized under ‘willful neglect’ (this category alone is $50,000 per violation!) in addition to the higher risk of ransomware attacks. What we do is keep this from ever being a worry for you! We perform your security risk assessment and manage all of your requirements, in a clean, organized cloud-based portal.
Don’t risk your company’s future, especially when we are offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status.
It’s easy! Call us at (980) 999-1585, or email me, Jim Johnson at jim@LiveCompliance.com or visit
Live Compliance has partnered with EZClaim medical billing software to strengthen what they can provide for you. It provides all of your HIPAA Privacy, Security Requirements, and Measures. HIPAA compliance is a requirement for Covered Entities and Business Associates to safeguard personal, private, and protected health information—allowing organizations to relinquish the struggle of compliance requirements.
You can investigate the EZClaim medical billing software by either downloading a FREE DEMO or just contact our knowledgeable sales staff to answer any and all of your questions by phone at (877) 650-0904 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
[ Contributed by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance ]