Network security has been and will continue to be a topic of conversation for businesses large and small. As hackers step up their game and use methods to manipulate, extort, and jeopardize the personal and private information of your clients and employees, our efforts to protect said information also has to adjust, change, and improve. Beyond doing the minimum of achieving HIPAA compliance, you should always be looking to improve your network security ensuring the privacy of every associated part of your business.
Recognize Your Gaps
When it comes to your business’ network security, you do not ever want to be overconfident. You should regularly review your network from end to end. Every computer, server, and device should be regularly inspected as any one of these could open the door for intruders into your network. Vulnerability assessments should be run by an IT department regularly in order to pinpoint any area that might be considered a weakness. This can help identify out of date software, evidence of malware, weak passwords, unusual activity, and more.
Educating anyone in or associated with your company that might have access to the network on how to properly approach usage is critical in maintaining security. This should be an ongoing aspect of your professional development as standards, softwares, methods, and forms of threat are often changing. Any individual with access should be well aware of the requirements expected of them and also the consequences of failing to maintain a HIPAA complaint network security.
Outsourcing Network Management
Because of the ever changing technology along with new methods outside hackers could use to put your network at risk, it might be in your business’s best interest to outsource your network security to a company that is specifically dedicated to network safety. Even if you have onsite IT personnel, consider the scope of work and responsibility in maintaining a tightened network security. Especially if you are handling sensitive information, it might be worth your while to hire an outside company to manage it. If you are in the majority of businesses looking to increase their IT security budget, outsourcing the job can also save your company money in the process. Instead of putting additional people on your payroll with required benefits that come along with that, hiring an outside company can alleviate a lot of that pressure for your business while still maintaining a strong and secure network.
Limit Access Points
Any device that has a connection to your network can be used to contaminate the server, even if done unintentionally. If your business has multiple network users, or even a third party partner, creating a virtual private network can help protect your main database from any weak points that might be created by an infected device logging in. Requiring any user with access to your network to have a company wide malware protection can also create some consistency in your protection as well. Remember, it is your job to prove at least a good faith effort in not only remaining HIPAA compliant but also in protecting your employees and clients from the dangers of outside network threats.