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First Step to Compliance: A Thorough and Accurate Risk Assessment

First Step to Compliance: A Thorough and Accurate Risk Assessment

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.

First Step to Compliance: A Thorough and Accurate Risk Assessment

Why a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment is so Important

Your organization’s annual HIPAA Security Risk Assessment and Analysis are only one element of the compliance process, and 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:

  • 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 equipmentdata 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?

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?

Well, keep in mind, a Business Associate is a ‘person’ or ‘entity’. This means that there is no billing company too small to have to comply with the Federal HIPAA regulations. Again, if you have not 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!

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 another 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.

 

An EZClaim partner, Live Compliance, will help you to make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple. They provide:

  • 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, and more. All delivered monthly with no logins required, they 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, especially when Live Compliance is offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. For more information, visit their website, e-mail them, or give them a call at 980.999.1585.


ABOUT EZCLAIM:
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.

[ Contribution by Jim Johnson with Live Compliance ]

First Step to Compliance: A Thorough and Accurate Risk Assessment

A Risk Assessment Alone Isn’t Enough: Steps After Your SRA is Complete

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 support@livecompliance.com

For more information please contact us at (980) 999-1585 or email us at support@livecompliance.com

Ransomware Hackers Target Medical Billing Companies

Ransomware Hackers Target Medical Billing Companies

Ransomware hackers target medical billing companies, and it CAN AFFECT your entire company! (Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.)

Often out of one’s control, ransomware hackers target medical billing companies because of the tremendous value of the data. BUT, there are steps that CAN BE TAKEN to protect you, your company, and your patients and/or clients.

 

NetWalker Ransomware, for example, gained notoriety for targeting hospitals and healthcare providers with e-mails claiming to provide information about COVID-19. (The e-mail usually has an attachment that downloads the ransomware from a remote server when clicked on.) The thing is, this is very lucrative for identity thieves since medical records information sells anywhere from $1-$1000!

As the number of healthcare providers taking advantage of Telehealth continues to increase—now outnumbering in-person visits—the number of ransomware attacks continues to increase as well. This means Billers and Providers must be aware of the programs that are used on their machines and ensure necessary steps are taken to safeguard against hackers and attacks.

How can you protect yourself and/or your organization?

  • Carefully monitoring where you store and enter your passwords can be extremely beneficial to help minimize the risk of a hack and keeping personal or patient information protected.
  • Routine password changes and monitoring where you store and enter your passwords can be extremely beneficial to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim to a hacker. Passwords should be long, unique in characters, capitalization, and alphanumerical.
  • 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.
  • If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
  • The strength of your passwords directly impacts your online security.

 

Live Compliance can help. They aggregate breaches which enables you to assess where personal data has been exposed. Dark Web scanning is built right into their Portal, and it allows you to keep an eye on employees whose information was involved in a breach, where the breach took place, and then suggest the next steps to take.

At Live Compliance, they make checking off your compliance requirements extremely simple and to ensure this doesn’t happen to you or your organization:

  • Reliable and effective compliance
  • 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, including those such as password protection.)
  • Policies and procedures curated to fit your organization ensuring employees are updated on all workstation use and security safeguards in the office, or out of the office—all updated in real-time
  • Electronic, prepared document sending and signing to employees and business associates

 

So, don’t risk your company’s future on ransomware hackers. Contact one of EZClaim’s partners, Live Compliance, especially since they are offering a FREE Organization Assessment to help determine your company’s status. E-mail them, visit their website at LiveCompliance.com, or call them at 980.999.1585.

For more information about EZClaim’s medical billing software, which provides a best-in-class product with correspondingly exceptional service and support,  e-mail, visit their website, or contact them at 877.650.0904.

[ Article contributed by Jim Johnson of Live Compliance ]