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Virtualization: Streamlining Compliance for Healthcare Providers

 
healthcare complianceHealthcare service providers have become more frequent targets of malware attacks in recent times. Why is this? Their databases possess valuable patient and client information, and are sometimes more vulnerable due to the volume of information stored in these databases. These files contain personal, financial, and other sensitive and private details that can be lucrative if stolen. This information is constantly transmitted in a variety of transactions, like email, making the data vulnerable to attack. When this information is stolen there can be significant legal and financial repercussions for the healthcare provider, which is why it is vital to keep all sensitive information secure.

To protect the privacy and integrity of this information, IT security administrators monitor systems for vulnerabilities, following HIPAA security compliance standards. When a system has a large number of devices to monitor, it provides more opportunity for intrusions to occur. Internal IT teams do their best, but manually auditing security processes may not be an adequate solution to the problem. It can take large amounts of time both to implement and then to maintain the measures to protect the organization adequately from viruses and other attacks. That is why many healthcare organizations decide to outsource in order to satisfy compliance standards. Outsourcing a business's security and streamlining the monitoring process also allows for a more effective and secure networked.

The first step for healthcare providers to become compliant is to ensure that their internal policies are in accordance with HIPAA standards. When these standards are followed, patient data is more likely to remain private and secure, and the healthcare provider is seen as a dependable, reliable, and trustworthy entity. To help maintain compliance, the use of virtualization can be a successful solution. 
  
Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than physical) machine on an existing device, such as a hardware platform, operating system or storage device. Building a secure network and maintaining a vulnerability management program on fewer machines allows IT professionals to spend less time monitoring and maintaining the security of their devices. Through virtualization, a healthcare provider's IT department can efficiently:
  • Protect confidential data and critical IT systems, prevent loss of data, and automate an organization's compliance policies and processes
  • Develop solutions that increase a healthcare organization's business and IT agility
  • Automatically identify and protect databases and storage devices that contain sensitive and private data like social security numbers and credit card information
  • Create practical policies that ensure patient privacy
  • Secure IT systems while meeting compliance requirements

Implementing a virtualization solution for HIPAA or any other compliance can be time consuming for many organizations, especially those with limited resources. Outsourcing to an experienced IT provider can also help with the ongoing process of compliance by setting policies and making sure that they are followed by the organization as whole.

Contact iCorps to learn how we can help healthcare providers, and other businesses, implement a virtualization solution that will help you stay compliant without impacting business continuity.

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