Giva Blog
Help Desk, Customer Service, Cloud & Security Insights, with a Side of Altruism!

Pros, Cons & Reminders When Upgrading Your Operating System

Operating System Technology Update

The operating system (OS) in your device is as vital to it as your blood is to you. Without an OS, any device is essentially just a shell. Every new device that you buy comes with an OS, usually the latest version from the manufacturer you have selected. When you get the device, you get the OS. That is the good news. The question marks start appearing at the same time as the little pop-up window in the corner of your screen that tells you it is time to upgrade your OS. Here are some of the pros and cons of moving to the latest version of your OS.

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HIPAA Protects More Than Healthcare

HIPAA Security & Data Protection

Worried about protecting the information with which customers trust your company? Afraid that a data breach is inevitable if your company transitions to a cloud-based system? With the stringent requirements in healthcare IT, some cloud providers are HIPAA compliant. But, this can not only be good for healthcare IT systems, but any company can benefit from these extra levels of security compliance.

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Top 5 Issues Facing Hospital CIOs Today

Technology Challenges for Healthcare/Hospital CIOs

Technology, such as cloud computing, is becoming increasingly attractive in the healthcare management industry. Hospital CIOs, however, now face the difficult task of optimizing new technology while still maintaining the healthcare industry's ethical standards. Here are the top five challenges faced by Hospital CIOs in implementing new technology:

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HIPAA Compliance Importance, Cloud Storage & Assessment Tool

HIPAA Compliance & Data Protection

With increasing data breaches happening every year at major companies like Kohl's, Abercrombie and Fitch, Cigna and Anthem, it is more important than ever to know if your company is HIPAA compliant or not. Federal law requires companies dealing with private health information, or any business that hosts this information on their servers, to be HIPAA compliant.

Even if your company does not need to comply with HIPAA regulations, it is a good idea to protect other sensitive information like credit card numbers and customer employment information as strictly as private health information. Anthem's data breach in March exposed the records of more than 80 million people, many of whom were not even Anthem customers.

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HIPAA Safeguards

HIPAA Data Security & Data Breaches

In being just a little over halfway through 2015, still, this year's Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) Data Breach Report reveals that 424 data breaches have already occurred as of July 14. This partial year's breaches have exposed more sensitive customer information than last year's breaches. Now is certainly a prime time for companies to review their security measures they take to prevent being the victim data breaches.

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Healthcare Data Breaches on the Rise

Healthcare Data Protection

Since the start of the year, over 92 million medical records have been affected by breaches of the healthcare industry. According to recent news in Forbes, these breaches can affect customers both financially and in a more personal way with the private medical history involved making them more vulnerable. The fraudster could actually receive medical treatment under the victim's identity in the end putting the victim at risk of later receiving wrong medical service based on someone else's health information. The possibilities of complications stemming from these breaches are endless.

According to the article, it used to be that the top cause for patient data loss was an employee losing a device or having it stolen, but more recently the medical information is being obtained through cyber attacks on major medical organizations including Anthem, Premera and Carefirst. Because financial services and retailers have become savvier about protecting customer data the cyber criminals are now targeting the healthcare industry. "In a recent FBI presentation, Kam [Rick Kam, president and cofounder of ID Experts] says that the agency said that it had seen health insurance information fetching a price of $60-$70 on the black market as opposed to less than a dollar for a Social Security Number." This should propel all of the healthcare industry to do all they can to make the protection of their customers' private information a top priority.

Giva's cloud software rises above the rest by being HIPAA compliant. For more in depth information on this very important benefit , please see 7 Key Elements of Giva's HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Help Desk Software for Electronic Health & Medical Records.

Job Loss From Data Breach

Data Breach

With new technology comes new dangers. Data breaches are a crippling threat to businesses nationwide for multiple reasons: business security has failed its customers and their information is unsafe (whether it be financial or medical), companies lose money when it is time to repay or monitor its customers by hiring third parties, and employees actually suffer job loss from these devastating breaches.

The Identity Theft Resource Center's Data Breach Reports defines a breach as "an incident in which an individual name plus a Social Security number, driver's license number, medical record or financial record (credit/debit cards included) is potentially put at risk because of exposure. This exposure can occur either electronically or in paper format." As of December 16th, the ITRC recorded 744 breaches with over 81 million informational records compromised. Big businesses such as Home Depot, Target, Michael's, Neiman Marcus, and Bebe are victims of data breaches.

Firstly, data breaches can cause massive monetary damage. Elizabeth Weise from USA Today says, "Companies need [breach insurance] because they have to pay up when their customers get hit." The average monetary loss is $188.00 per customer hacked, which the company is required to pay back. Even a small business of 1,000 customers is then required to pay $188,000. Breach insurance can be expensive, but so can being the victim of a cyber attack.

Insurance and monetary compensation are possible solutions. However, most people do not realize the effects of security breaches on those in charge of business security. Data attacks can result in job loss. These job losses include Beth Jacob, CIO of Target; Maricopa County Community College District director, Miguel Corzo; head of Utah's Department of Health's technology department, Stephen Fletcher; and an Accretive Health employee responsible for the loss of an unencrypted laptop filled with sensitive healthcare information on over 23,000 patients.

When it comes to data breaches, there seems to be a greater margin of job penalty in the field of healthcare. Aside from the few mentioned above, Goold Health Systems fired an employee this year for downloading patient information onto a USB drive and then losing it. Highmark, Inc. fired a mail room employee for an error which disclosed over 3,500 patients' Medicare information without authorization. Two Georgia Hospital employees were fired for improperly disposing of an unencrypted desktop including information on over 6,500 patients. Boston Medical Center fired a third-party vendor after realizing they had posted data from 15,000 patients to the website without password protection.

Whether via carelessness, accident, or the work of a hacker, customer information must be taken seriously, especially when it pertains to healthcare. The lack of security can result in job loss. This is not a new issue: in 2006, four healthcare employees of Providence Health Care were fired for the theft of 365,000 healthcare patients' medical records. Thankfully, a security vendor was hired, and patients could sign up for information restoration and monitoring.

However, the healthcare business demographic accounts for almost half of ITRC's recorded data breaches, with hacking as the cause for more than a third of these breaches. Healthcare records provide a wealth of information, making them a huge target for cyber attacks. Because of this, federal law and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (also known as HIPAA) require security methods such as encryption of medical data to ensure a company remains protected from a data breach.

Businesses are going to have to continue to be vigilant in implementing their security strategies.

With Giva, security is of the utmost importance.  This is why Giva is has worked to become HIPAA-compliant, with its cloud software complying with strict regulations, helping keep their healthcare - and all - customers' information safe.

Look for Hackers to Target Healthcare in 2015

Healthcare Data Hacking

Now more than ever, businesses need to be diligent about securing customer information. According to a recent news article, 2015 could be the "Year of the Healthcare Hack." Hackers could target both healthcare and insurance companies in order to secure customers personal information. The No. 2 U.S. health insurer, Anthem Inc., disclosed a breach of its database that has affected nearly 80 million records leading to investigations by state and local authorities. While in the past, cybercriminals have focused on the financial and retail sector; the new target is less-secure medical data. That being the case, many businesses are starting to focus more on security. According to research analyst Stephanie Balaouras at Forrester, "If your company execs are smart, they will make protecting customers' data and preserving their privacy one of their top business and social responsibilities in 2015." (Forrester)

With all the benefits of Healthcare Information Technology, the obstacle of cyber attacks must be addressed as well. Many businesses have prospered because of HIT and will continue to do so in the future.  However, being proactive in addressing this security issue must be a priority for all businesses in 2015 in order to secure customer information. The Reuters article above mentions that "UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. have been warning investors about the risks of cyber crime since 2011." Warning investors is important; preventing hackers from stealing customer information is paramount. In meeting the strict HIPAA compliance regulations for cyber security, Giva can be the answer to businesses concerned about this problem. For more information read 7 Key elements of Giva's HIPPA-Compliant Cloud Help Desk Software for Electronic Health & Medical Records.

Value in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT)

Healthcare Information Technology

In a digitized world, one of the greatest conveniences is health information technology (HIT). Considering nearly everyone in the US is a consumer of healthcare, there are numerous benefits to adopting electronic health records. The evidence report, Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology, outlines a few. Health information technology is a means of electronically storing, recording, accessing, or transferring a patient's medical records. This includes health and medical history. Not only is this paperless and perhaps more reliable, but it allows for "clinical decision-making and disease management." It also allows for prescription filling, test ordering, and care reminding. For example, the system can provide alerts for necessary patient vaccinations or send a prescription to be filled at a pharmacy convenient to the patient. Overall, health information technology improves the efficiency of healthcare - a highly profitable, nationwide business.

However, adopting HIT is costly and requires change in the organization. It is considered an investment, but perhaps a necessary investment in terms of economic advancement. In non-financially focused studies concerning adoption of HIT, areas of improvement included increased productivity by the healthcare provider, improved patient safety and, subsequently, fewer adverse drug events (ADE) and time spent in hospitals to treat ADEs, and better physician decision-making. For example, the ability to reduce the "ordering of redundant clinical laboratory tests could produce an annual savings of $35,000 in laboratory charges." It is economically beneficial to improve the efficiency of healthcare.

In a day and age where nearly everything is digitized, it is only fitting a business as widely used as healthcare should follow suit. Adopting health information technology will improve provider efficiency while increasing consumer centeredness. Electronic health records are more personalized, more organized and more efficient. Although implementation of HIT is an expensive adjustment, benefits for both provider and consumer are apparent. Healthcare efficiency is important to society as a whole.

With efficiency of digital access to healthcare records comes the necessity of increased data security measures. The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA, was passed to establish a national framework for security standards and protection of confidentiality with regard to health care data and information. Fortunately, Giva makes HIPAA compliance very easy for our customers. The data center, hardware and software infrastructure of Giva's cloud help desk & customer service software meet the very strict HIPAA compliance regulations. See 7 Key Elements of Giva's HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Help Desk Software for Electronic Health & Medical Records.

Giva's Compliance with EU & Switzerland Safe Harbor Framework

Giva Safe Harbor Compliance

In October of 1998, the European Commission created a Directive on Data Protection, which prohibits transferring personal data to non-European Union countries that do not meet a certain level of privacy protection. The EU felt this was necessary as it and the United States approach handling data privacy in different ways.

In order to allow US companies to quickly comply with EU standards, the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce worked together to provide a framework by which organizations could certify their compliance. The program is called the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program, and certifying to the framework allows U.S. organizations to join this program.

With Switzerland, their Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner also worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce to create a separate "Safe Harbor" framework, for the same purposes as the EU "Safe Harbor" framework.

Giva values the privacy of its users and visitors, and Giva respects the privacy definitions of not only the U.S., but the other organizations around the world that have decided upon their own standards they feel are best for the people they represent. With this, Giva has completed the self-certification process as defined in the Safe Harbor framework for both the European Union and Switzerland.

For more information about Giva's Safe Harbor compliance, please visit our Privacy Policy page.

 

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