Things are not always as they seem…
especially in the world of data security. We like to assume attacks are rare, and won’t happen to us. But it’s often our own lack of care that gets us and our organizations in trouble. We leave a hard drive out in the open, fail to encrypt data, maybe even leave a password in an obvious place (so “we’ll remember”), and before we know it, someone’s personal information is up for grabs.
We forget sometimes about the meaning of “standards of care,” and how we would want them diligently applied to ourselves. If we resent HIPAA Security Standards, we miss the point that those standards are really about people – real people, not just data. Essentially, protecting health records, emails, files, and any other form of medical data containing protected health information (PHI) protects the well-being of a person, and prevents attacks upon their ability to thrive – and that person might one day be us.
Secure File Transfer
In today’s world, it’s a reality that managing a person’s vital information safely may involve any number of entities, including remote business associates. How to do this well is a question – especially if sending and receiving protected files is a regular part of their function. Here’s where the benefits of a secure SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) server should be considered.
You’ve heard about servers, and of course, if you’re generally tech-savvy, you might think that setting up your own server is a viable option. But before you go too far down that road, consider the following: the overhead costs of equipment, the complexities of setup and security, ongoing management and maintenance of your own infrastructure, etc. should all be weighed in the decision.
More often than not, the realities of managing your own infrastructure and backups (a HIPAA requirement) while staying current with the latest security patches, etc. can turn out to be quite costly, considering the equipment, IT expertise, and monitoring time involved. A hosted, managed option for a secure and reliable file sharing solution can give you all the benefits with a lot less hassle. Your storage will be in a single location, and generally at a much lower cost.
So what are the benefits of choosing an SFTP server? Consider the following 4 S’s:
Security: It goes without saying that the safe sending and receiving of sensitive data requires your data servers to be physically secure – preferably, in an approved data center. But HIPAA compliant servers also preserve digital security through the use of in-transit and at-rest encryption, strong firewalls, IP restrictions, password protections, multi-factor authentication, and access controls – all intended to keep your data from being attacked and possibly stolen or held for ransom. With a managed security expert overseeing your server protections, you can be sure your data will be safe from the latest vulnerabilities.
Seamless – Covered entities who handle PHI value the ability to have Business Associates who can work from home, or another remote location. Consultants, accountants, and marketing firms all may need access to ePHI, at varying levels of permissions (which you can specify). Having a seamless way to securely upload and store these files in a protected server, then download and transmit them as needed allows these associates to continue providing the important services they do.
Savings – As we’ve mentioned, trying to build your own SFTP solution can cause expenditures to mount rapidly, even if you’re tech-savvy enough to configure and maintain the system. The upfront investmentcan be significant, along with the ongoing man-hours that will detract from doing your actual work of handling ePHI, caring for patients, etc.
Scalability – The ability to scale seamlessly without limitations on bandwidth, file size, number of users, or loss of uptime will be critical. Rapid growth need not translate into additional equipment expenditures, or the downtime you may need to get the new system up and running. Instead, you’ll want a system that allows you to easily add or reduce storage and the number of users as business needs change, and manage your server via a secure web interface or SFTP client.
Deriving these 4 S’s from an SFTP server allows you to maximize your care of people. Maintaining remote workers without sacrificing security, or significant equipment expenditures for maintenance and potential downtimes (for upgrades, etc.), is key. HIPAA Vault has the expertise to help assess your needs and get you up and running quickly, with seamless file transfers to the SFTP Server. You’ll enjoy RSA Key Exchange for encryption, an encrypted hard drive, and safe storage of PHI in HIPAA Vault’s Secure Data Centers.
Talk to us about getting started with an SFTP server today!
HIPAA Vault is the leading provider of HIPAA compliant, managed cloud solutions, enabling healthcare providers to secure their sensitive, protected health information from data breaches and security vulnerabilities. For more information on HIPAA Managed Hosting and Cloud Solutions contact HIPAA Vault today!